Best Buy doing unexpectedly well in the age of Amazon

A few years ago, I photoshopped Best Buy, as the last-man-standing on the brick and mortar battlefront of consumer electronics, as "Amazon Showroom." But of late I find myself walking out with the thing I was looking at, having found it meeting my needs and competitively priced. It turns out the company is thriving, writes Bloomberg's Susan Berfield and Matthew Boyle, despite everyone predicting its death.

Best Buy’s stock fell 10 percent the day he was named CEO—but Joly understands how to value, and capture, customers’ time. Comparable sales rose 5.6 percent last year and 9 percent during the Christmas season, the biggest holiday gain since 2003. The stock price has quadrupled. Even Amazon CEO Jeff Bezos is impressed. “The last five years, since Hubert came to Best Buy, have been remarkable,” he said at an appearance in April.

Those years were about getting people into Best Buy stores and onto its website; Best Buy’s future will be about getting its people into homes. Joly, who made a surprise visit to talk with the trainees, explains the importance of this strategy: “That lets you have a real conversation. You can talk about what’s possible, be human, make it real.” They’ll encounter those slogans again throughout headquarters.  “We get 26 percent of our consumers’ electronic spending. That’s embarrassing,” he says. “If we get a third, it would still be embarrassing, but the growth for the company would be tremendous. This is a great way to make a sale, but it’s also the beginning of a beautiful friendship, to quote Casablanca.

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Geek Squad's secret spying on behalf of the FBI went on for a decade and involved constant, ongoing collaboration

A 2017 prosecution of a California doctor charged with possessing child pornography revealed that the FBI had been tipped off by a Best Buy technician the doctor had paid to service his computer; the technician had searched his computer and then provided evidence to the FBI, sidestepping the need for the FBI to obtain a warrant. Read the rest

Best Buy a bad buy for investors

Best Buy made just $12m in profit on revenues of $10.6bn in the last quarter, falling from $150m over the same period last year. With stock and sales alike slumping, the firm suspended its profit forecast and share buybacks. Best Buy knows exactly what the problem is—it freely admits that everyone uses it to check out gadgets they then buy cheaper online—but hasn't found a way to turn the tide. [BBC and Dealnews] Read the rest