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Best Buy has closed about 20 of its big-box stores in each of the past two years (iStock)

Best Buy lays off 5,000 staffers, increases store closures

Best Buy had a successful 2020 — but the electronics retailer is scaling back.

The company laid off 5,000 full-time workers this month and will add 2,000 part-timers, according to the Wall Street Journal, part of a larger pattern of shrinking its staff throughout the year. Best Buy had about 123,000 workers at the start of its last fiscal year, a number that shrank to 102,000 at the end of the year.

It has also closed about 20 of its big-box stores in each of the past two years but expects to close more this year, CNN reported. The retailer has 450 store leases coming up for renewal in the next three years, it said on a call with investors Thursday.

“There will be higher thresholds on renewing leases as we evaluate the role each store plays,” CEO Corie Barry said, according to CNN.

The company currently has around 1,000 stores in the United States.

The move comes as Best Buy’s online sales increase. Physical traffic to its stores has dwindled 15 percent during the three months ended Jan. 30. Meanwhile, comparable sales from stores and digital channels operating for at least 12 months, rose 12.6 percent during the same time period.

“The customer has completely changed the way they are thinking about shopping,” Barry said on a call with reporters Thursday. “We have been doing everything we can to adjust to the new reality.”

[WSJCNN— Sasha JonesContact Sasha Jones

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