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Best Buy Wins Best National Retailer

Minneapolis, Minn. — Why is Best Buy the industry’s best national retailer? Let us count the ways.

Founder Dick Schulze had already carried the company to the top of the heap when CEO Brad Anderson made the boldest of business moves by radically changing its operating model. That alone would be worthy of kudos, but judging by Best Buy’s recent financial performance, the new model, dubbed customer centricity, is also apparently working.

As part of the process, Best Buy is gearing its stores and shopping experience toward its most profitable customers, and is empowering store level employees by encouraging input on managerial decisions. So far, employee retention is up, and the company’s sales results speak for themselves.

Best Buy was also among the first out of the gate with a national IT service, the high profile Geek Squad, and has begun to leverage its purchase of Magnolia Hi-Fi (now Magnolia Audio Video) with a coast-to-coast custom installation offering and a full-scale rollout of eponymous, high-end A/V shops in stores. The moves should prove a shot to the bottom line, while giving the company some breathing room from the increasingly CE-centric discounters Wal-Mart and Costco.

They may also give the specialty A/V channel more than a little indigestion. As one competitor (an employee of fellow award winner Tweeter) noted in a nomination ballot, “They do it right, even to the point that Wal-Mart recognizes them as a threat.”

And no less than the executive director of PRO Group, Dave Workman conceded that “They are still the game to beat and have brought more innovation into their business model than anyone on a national level in the last 12 months.”

The NPD Group’s Stephen Baker agreed, citing Best Buy’s “sales strength, willingness to re- invent themselves, and great foresight into future opportunities.”