Best Buy to shut Biddeford store
BIDDEFORD, Apr 16, 2012 (Portland Press Herald - McClatchy-Tribune Information Services via COMTEX) --
Best Buy is shutting down its store here as part of a companywide restructuring.
The company, beset by competition from online retailers, announced in late March that it would shutter 50 stores. It identified eight initially, and the other shoe dropped Saturday morning for the remaining 42 locations that will be shut, including Biddeford.
Like many of the other stores targeted for closing, Best Buy in Biddeford kept its doors shut Saturday to notify employees of the decision and to discuss other employment opportunities with the chain, spokeswoman Kelly Groehler said. The store will reopen today, but will close permanently May 12.
A manager who declined to be identified was stationed at the entrance to tell customers that the store would reopen today.
For Karen Paro, the corporate decision made in Minnesota meant logging a few more miles to shop.
She had gone to the Biddeford Best Buy to buy a vacuum cleaner, but was turned away at the door. She planned to head to the Best Buy in Portsmouth, N.H., to make her purchase.
Another Kennebunk resident, Judy Noel, was turned away a few minutes later when she stopped to peruse iPods. She wasn't sure where she might look for an alternative retailer.
Noel noted that the Shops at Biddeford Crossing, where the Best Buy is located, has undergone a shakeup since opening five years ago. Lowe's, a home improvement chain, shut down last fall. Old Navy and Linens 'n Things were victims of the tough economy of the last few years.
"And the restaurants have closed and reopened" after being bought by new chains, she said.
Best Buy also has stores in Bangor, Augusta, Topsham, Auburn and at the Maine Mall in South Portland. New Hampshire stores also escaped closing, although the chain did decide to close two stores in Massachusetts and one in Rhode Island.
Analysts noted that the company has fallen victim to some of the technology that it introduced customers to. A consumer can research features for a television, video camera or video game system online, walk into a Best Buy store and immediately compare prices, via a smartphone, with online retailers. More often than not, they're finding better prices online, the analysts said.
Best Buy reported disappointing earnings in late March and announced the store closings as part of a plan to cut $800 million in costs. Last week, its chief executive officer, Brian Dunn, resigned, and the company board has launched an investigation, reportedly into allegations the he engaged in an inappropriate relationship with a female employee.
Going forward, Best Buy plans to focus more on its Best Buy Mobile stores, which concentrate on cellphone sales and accessories. The company said in a news release that the goal is "to increase points of presence, while decreasing overall square footage, for increased flexibility."
Groehler declined to say how many people are employed at the Biddeford Best Buy store. The company said it will try to find positions for employees at other Best Buy stores and will offer severance packages if there are no openings or employees choose not to work at another location.
Staff Writer Edward D. Murphy can be contacted at 791-6465 or at: email@example.com
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