Tuesday, April 10, 2012

Best Buy: Time for a gut check

As if struggling to adapt to consumers' changing needs wasn't enough, today Best Buy's CEO resigned for "personal conduct" reasons. CEO Brian Dunn resigned today, according to The Wall Street Journal, citing "personal conduct" but no details of the conduct were provided.

During the recession, Best Buy won a highly public battle with Circuit City who filed bankruptcy and closed, but now it's losing an even bigger war with Apple. Best Buy is set to close 50 stores, grow its Geek Squad computer support business, and needs to revamp the consumer experience. Best Buy used to be the cool place  to buy electronics, but now it's a "showroom" and Apple wins the battle for cool.

To put it in perspective, Best Buy stores had operating income per square foot of $50.61 in 2006 and just five years later the income per square foot was $18.52 according to estimates by the retail consultancy Customer Growth Partners. By contrast, Apple's retail stores reaped an astronomical $4,700 per square foot last year, (From The Wall Street Journal)

Best Buy is hanging on for dear life, and now its CEO's resignation is likely to humiliate it further. This is a time of great opportunity for Best Buy, if it conducts an honest gut check. What are you made of, Best Buy? Great leaders, which Best Buy was once, are self-aware and adaptable. If it digs deep and finds out what's inside, Best Buy could overcome the embarrassing resignation, create a new customer experience, and position itself for a strong future.

After all, not everyone wants an Apple everything. There is room for competition, but Best Buy has to dig deep to remain part of the conversation. It's time for a gut check.

What do you think:  Can Best Buy make it?

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