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Best Buy Undergoes Another Round of Layoffs and Pay Restructuring

TL;DR intro

  • Layoffs and Restructuring:Best Buy has conducted another round of layoffs and job restructurings, significantly impacting its sales staff.
  • In-Home Sales Roles Affected:In-home sales roles, known as designers, have been largely targeted, with many being laid off or moved to in-store positions.
  • Pay Scale Revisions:Pay scales for in-store consultants have been revised, resulting in lower incomes for many.
  • Response to Declining Sales:These changes come as Best Buy responds to declining sales following the pandemic's consumer electronics boom.

Best Buy recently executed another round of layoffs and job restructurings, significantly impacting its sales staff. According to current and former employees who spoke with The Verge, some staff members have been laid off, while others have seen a reduction in their pay. This latest move reflects the company's ongoing efforts to streamline operations amid declining sales post-pandemic.

Layoffs and Job Restructurings

The layoffs appear to have predominantly targeted in-home sales roles, known as designers. These employees would visit customers' homes to help them select products suitable for their spaces. Although the exact number of layoffs is unclear, designers who were not laid off have been transitioned to in-store roles. Additionally, the pay scales for in-store consultants have been revamped.

Ryan Furlong, a spokesperson for Best Buy, confirmed the layoffs but declined to provide specific numbers or details on the pay changes. “Many of our team members were moved to new areas or roles where our customers need it most,” Furlong told The Verge. He added that some employees in the Design and Consult workforce would transition into a new "Premium Designer role."

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Declining Sales and Business Adjustments

Best Buy has been undergoing drastic restructuring in recent months, driven by factors such as falling sales after the pandemic's surge in consumer electronics spending. Best Buy CEO Corie Barry informed investors in February to anticipate layoffs this year. Two months ago, mass layoffs of Geek Squad employees were reported. During the company's first-quarter earnings call in May, Barry reiterated that many of Best Buy's moves to “right-size” its business are being implemented throughout the year.

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Impact on Employees

Employees affected by the layoffs and pay restructuring have expressed concern and frustration. Consultants, who previously earned commissions on in-store sales, will now be paid based on an average of their previous year's sales. One employee, who requested anonymity, noted that this change could result in significantly lower pay.

A former employee, who was a designer before being laid off, shared that designers previously earned a base salary of $60,000 plus commission. Those who were not laid off will now earn minimum wage plus altered commission rates, which reportedly “won't make up for the drop in pay.” The former designer stated it was “easy to clear anywhere from $90K - 120K in the role” before the changes.

The in-house advisor program, which had been in place since 2017, has been gradually shrinking. Initially, there was one designer per store, but headcounts have been reduced over time. By the time the former employee was laid off, they were responsible for several stores.

Broader Business Strategy

Best Buy's recent actions are part of a broader strategy to adjust to sales slowdowns. Beyond the layoffs, the retailer is pulling back on various fronts, including exiting physical media sales, retreating from the Samsung authorized repair program, and starting to use generative AI for customer troubleshooting and order support.

While the company aims to streamline operations and cut costs, the impact on employees has been significant, with many facing job losses and reduced income. As Best Buy continues to adjust its business strategy, the long-term effects on its workforce and customer service remain to be seen.

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