Best Buy's Brad Anderson fielded questions from his audience of both manufacturers and retailers on key industry issues, and key issues facing Best Buy, including major appliances. Here are some of his comments:
Second-Half/Holiday Sales: Best Buy's last quarter "had negative comp sales, so we are not exactly pleased. On the other hand our general sense is that things look better for the second half."
HDTV Rollout: "That's an area where [the industry] has stumbled. We have stumbled so far… yet the product is so good and exciting we are getting good sales with 'bad behavior.' Still, there is a lot of work in front of us to be done."
The Internet: "There are things that were impossible for us to do before the Internet. The web can provide so much information. That drives us together."
Major Appliance Plans: "This is 7 percent of our business. Our management has reviewed and focused on all the major businesses we run. Major appliances is the last one on the list to be reviewed. We are committed to it and see it re-emerging for us. We must come up with stronger [consumer] preferences for us in the next two years."
Best Buy's Demographics: Anderson confirmed the strategy which chairman and founder Dick Schulze once stated, that Best Buy wants to become as identified with consumers in the future as Sears has been. Anderson said, "We don't run any ads for me, a 52 year-old. Much of our business is with the 12- to 17-year-old demographic, which is the future for us. During the next ten years with some luck they will [continue to shop] at Best Buy stores" for major appliances and big-ticket consumer electronics. He added that part of the reason for buying Musicland was to "go after more female customers."