Rockford's Independent Newspaper

Best Buy to furlough 51K workers amid coronavirus pandemic

By Jim Hagerty

MINNEAPOLIS – Best Buy, beginning, April 19, will temporarily furlough around 51,000 hourly store employees and almost all part-time workers, the electronic retailer announced Wednesday, April 15.

Furloughed employees will retain health benefits at no cost for a minimum of three months. The company says it will retain approximately 82% of its full-time store and field employees on its payroll, including the majority of In-Home Advisors and Geek Squad Agents. Furloughed employees will retain their health benefits at no cost to them for a minimum of three months.

Also on April 19, some corporate employees, including CEO Corie Barry, are participating in voluntary reduced work week, reduced pay, and voluntary furloughs.

Barry will forego 50% of her salary. Those reporting directly to her will take a 20-percent reduction in pay until Sept. 1. Members of the Best Buy Board of Directors will forego 50% of their cash retainer fees.

““The situation remains very fluid and there is still a great deal of uncertainty, particularly as it relates to depth and duration of store closures and consumer confidence over time,” Barry said in a statement. “We are taking the steps necessary to resume providing our customers in-home services in the near future, keeping in mind our overriding priority on the safety of our employees and customers. We are also preparing to re-open stores to customers as soon as it is safe to do so, with timing likely to vary at state and local levels. In the meantime, as you would expect, we are focused on making the difficult decisions necessary to ensure that at the end of this crisis Best Buy remains a strong, vibrant company.”

Other actions taken by Best Buy include lowering merchandise receipts to match demand with a focus on essential items, extending payment terms in partnership with key merchandising vendors, reducing promotional and marketing budgets, and suspension of the its 401(k) matching program.

Rockford’s Best Buy is at 281 Deane Drive. Local representatives could not be reached for comment.

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