What will store-level job cuts mean for Best Buy’s front line and bottom line?
Best Buy is laying off an unspecified number of associates in stores across the country in what is widely seen as a cost-cutting move after the chain last month lowered its annual sales and profit forecast.
The retailer did not quantify the number of workers that would be affected by the layoffs as it responded to The Wall Street Journal, which broke the story, and other media outlets.
“We’re always evaluating and evolving our teams to make sure we’re serving our customers,” Best Buy said in a statement. ‘With an ever-changing macroeconomic environment, including customers shopping more digitally than ever, we have made adjustments to our teams that include eliminating a small number of roles.”
The chain did not specify how cutting front line workers would result in improving or maintaining its customer service levels.
Best Buy last month cut its forecast for the second quarter. The company now expects that its same-store sales will fall 13 percent compared to a 19.6 percent gain during the same period last year. The retailer now expects that its operating income for the year will come in around four percent. Its previous guidance expected results in the 5.2 to 5.4 percent range.
Following the forecast, Best Buy said that it would “continue to actively assess further actions to manage profitability going forward.” It’s not clear from the reporting if the latest job cuts are part of those actions or if they were in the chain’s plans at an earlier time.
Also unclear is how the latest job cuts will affect morale on Best Buy’s front line. The company, which was frequently lauded near the start of the pandemic for looking after its workers, came under criticism after it laid off store associates at a time when federal stimulus checks and changing consumer behavior were working in its favor.
The chain’s own workers took issue with a lack of transparency around layoffs and other actions such as cutting staff hours. Morale took a hit as associates, who had been praised for their work during much of the pandemic, found themselves blindsided by the move. The Journal reports that layoffs at the time became known internally as “the snap,” a reference to the Thanos character in “Avengers: Infinity War” who erased half of all life in the universe with a snap of his fingers.
- Best Buy Cuts Store Jobs to Help Boost Profits – The Wall Street Journal
- Best Buy trims jobs after it cuts sales and profit outlook – The Associated Press/ABC News
- Best Buy cuts jobs across the country, after warning of slower sales – CNBC
- Best Buy cuts forecast in glass half full announcement – RetailWire
- Best Buy is handing out bonuses, paid time off for vaccines and pink slips. Huh? – RetailWire
DISCUSSION QUESTIONS: How should retailers calculate cost savings versus the cost to morale when cutting front line workers? Do you expect that more retailers will cut store-level jobs before the year is over?