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Best Buy Limits HQ Layoffs To 250

2/19/2009 02:55:00 PM Eastern

Richfield, Minn. — Best Buy will eliminate about 250 jobs at its corporate headquarters here next month and will adjust store-level staffing in what it described today as “very hard” but necessary changes to ensure the company’s continued strength.

At the same time, the retailer is creating approximately 210 new corporate-level positions, resulting in a net loss of about 40 jobs. The new roles “reflect organizational changes made to better align activities with Best Buy’s priorities,” spokeswoman Sue Busch said, and downsized workers are being encouraged to apply for those posts. The staffers will remain in their jobs for the next 30 days, and will receive COBRA benefits, life insurance and outplacement services for one year.

The severity of the headquarters layoffs was limited by the success of a voluntary severance package that was offered to corporate employees in December, Busch said. About 500 of Best Buy’s 4,000 headquarters staff accepted the buyout and left the company Thursday, Feb. 12.

Coming changes on the store level “are less about staff impacts and more about shifting labor dollars to where the customers are,” Busch said. The moves, expected in the next few weeks, will retool the company’s store operating model “in a way that delivers a more intuitive, customer-focused shopping experience” and will “enable local growth through customers and employees,” she said.

“We believe re-tooling our business is necessary in light of economic conditions and business performance,” Busch said in a statement.  “These are challenging times for

Best Buy

, for the U.S. and for the entire world … Across our company, we wish we didn’t have to make the kinds of decisions we are announcing today. But our primary responsibility to all of our stakeholders is to ensure the continued strength of this company going forward. These changes are very hard, but they are necessary. They enable us to become a better and stronger company now and into the future.”