Best Buy's Dunn Upbeat On Chain's Holiday Prospects

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New York - Best Buy should have a happy holiday season with the national chain emphasizing connectivity products, service and "being there on price," according to Brian Dunn, CEO.


During the chain's Holiday Media Day at its loft space at Broadway and Canal Street here this morning, Dunn reiterated what he said in Best Buy's recent investor call that the chain continues to gain share and that he sees hopeful signs for the holiday selling season.

"This will be my 25th Christmas season with Best Buy," Dunn related and cracked, "and, as always, it is our most important season ever."

Dunn said Best Buy considers connectivity products to include flat-screen TVs, smart phones, netbooks and notebook PCs, and digital imaging products. "Those categories are doing well," he noted, and will continue to show growth for Best Buy this holiday season.

In terms of service, Best Buy will rely on the capabilities of the Geek Squad and its Best Buy Mobile stores to make sure consumers can understand and enjoy their products.

When asked about the complexity of today's CE products, Dunn said, "Complexity is our friend. It helps us provide more technology to our customers and more service" so they will enjoy their purchases. As an example, he said Best Buy Mobile's mantra is that they want consumers to "walk out working" with their smartphones.

Addressing industry talk of deeper price cuts in CE this season, Dunn insisted that Best Buy will "be there on price," and later added, "Our products are tagged at the lowest price point, and we won't be beat. That's what we always do."

When questioned about adequate inventories for the holidays, Dunn said Best Buy is "strong" in many areas where the chain "placed bets where we need to be" in a strong position.

Dunn said market share is up but "we are not driving that by price points. You have to be able to provide selection, install [products] and be priced right."

When asked about Circuit City's departure, Dunn noted, "Many asked us, ‘It put a lot of customers in play.' It did and we gained share. But Circuit City's departure doesn't mean we have fewer competitors. There is no shortage of competition. We compete against Disney World, restaurants ... really any business that goes after discretionary income."

And Dunn reiterated what he said during the financial conference call earlier this month: "This is a great time to be a consumer. There are values" on fully featured products "that have never been seen before."

Visit later today for updates on the Best Buy Holiday Media Day.


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