7:12 pm July 6, 2012, by Christopher Seward
Best Buy’s Geek Squad is among the next to feel the brunt of a major restructuring as the electronics retailer tries to regain its footing to battle fierce competition from online retailers.
The Wall Street Journal reports that about 600 techies will be laid off in the retailer’s services division. In addition, 1,800 other store workers are expected to get pink slips in the weeks ahead, the Journal reported, citing someone familiar with the plans.
The Geek Squad layoffs represent 3 percent of the 20,000 workers in the services division, spokesman Matthew Furman told the Journal. The division helps customers with installation and staffers offer advice before and after purchases. Some observers say the squad is what differentiates Best Buy from its competitors.
The latest round of layoffs are in addition to the pink slips that went out earlier this year when Best Buy, which has 167,000 workers, launched plans to close 50 of its stores. The retailer announced in April it was closing two stores in metro Atlanta, one in Fayetteville and in Loganville. Best Buy had 30 locations in metro Atlanta at the time of the announcement – 22 big box stores and eight standalone Best Buy Mobile stores.
The chain, which has 1,400 U.S. locations, is testing a smaller store concept to improve the relationship customers have with the floor staff and the Geek Squad.
The retailer’s founder and former chairman, Richard Schulze, 71, is considering selling his 20 percent stake, but reportedly also may try to take the company private by teaming up with potential buyout partners, the Journal reported earlier. Schulze resigned abruptly June 7.
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