Best Buy Canada Lets Go of 950 Employees

Best Buy Layoffs | BCBusiness

As part of a restructuring, the electronics retailer is cutting back its staff and refocusing its strategy

Best Buy made headlines in 2013 for all the wrong reasons: cutting its Results Only Work Environment program, which allowed employees to work from home; losing its president and COO Mike Pratt; and closing seven stores across Canada. In a release on January 30, Best Buy Canada announced that as part of a new “restructuring initiative” it will let go of approximately 950 full-time employees across both the Future Shop and Best Buy brands. The company will be consolidating sales departments and reducing layers of management.

“The Canadian operation has actually done marginally above flat—they’ve done okay last year,” says retail analyst David Ian Gray of DIG360 Consulting Ltd. “But the American side, overall Best Buy corporate has declined in sales. So part of the story is, we’re caught up in mandates coming out of the U.S.”

Best Buy Canada describes the impending restructuring as “changes to streamline its store operating model as part of the company’s long-term growth strategy in Canada.”

“We have been focusing on simplifying our store structure and increasing efficiencies to better align with the changing needs of our customers,” said Best Buy Canada president and COO Ron Wilson in a prepared statement.

The company began refocusing its strategy in 2013 after closing seven of its Canadian locations. The ongoing changes include opening 176 “stores-within-a-store” concepts, opening six new Best Buy Mobile locations, investing in the Best Buy and Future Shop websites and apps, and growing an extensive online-only product assortment.

“In this particular announcement, they haven’t targeted [closing] stores, and that surprises me a little bit,” says Gray, “but that might come out in the next round.”