Best Buy (BBY) is methodically shrinking its store base in the U.S. as it tries to operate more efficiently in the age of digital shopping. Unlike competitors such asSears Holding Corp. (SHLD) and Macy’s (M) , though, the closures come with little hype and from a position of strength.
The electronics retailer said Monday it will close two Baltimore-area locations that employ a total of 120 people, after closing one large box store and four Best Buy Mobile stores earlier this year. Last year, Best Buy closed 13 big box stores and 17 Mobile stores in the U.S., according to the company’s store count data. At the end of the second quarter, it had 1,397 stores in the U.S., down from a peak of 1,503 stores in 2013.
The main reason why Best Buy hasn’t gotten more aggressive with stores closures is because it simply doesn’t have many unprofitable stores – in fact, it’s the main electronics-only retailer left standing in many communities. If a person wants to touch and feel a new electronics product such as a watch from Apple (AAPL) , and learn how to use it, a trip to Best Buy is often the only option following the Circuit City bankruptcy. Further, Best Buy’s stores have become one of the top destinations during the U.S. housing recovery for major appliances.
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