Best Buy ChairmanLeaving Early(June 8,2012)
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John Gress for The New YorkTimes
Susan Schroeder, right,showing a massagechair to Nancy Monroe, ashopper at AbtElectronics.
the company in 1966,said this monththat he wouldleave the board immediately, a year ahead of schedule, and is trying to sell his 20.1 percent stakein the company.Now, Walmart is running ads going after Best Buyconsumers; a Chicago-area competitor is expandingamusement park attractions in its store to lureshoppers; and Target is selling Apple products — allin an effort to make buying electronics in a storeappealing again. The trends are not favorable.People are increasingly buying electronics online,even if they go to stores to examine productfeatures. The price of televisions is sliding, and CDsand DVDs are not nearly as popular as they oncewere. Retailers are stuck with lots of space asproducts shrink or go digital. And because manymanufacturers are not allowing retailers to advertisebelow minimum prices for their products, stores cannot publicize saleprices the way they once did.Sales at physical electronics stores have declined an average of 2.6percent a year in the last five years, according to the market research firmIbisWorld. Sales of electronics online have risen an average of 14.7percent a year in that period. Chains like Circuit City and CompUSA havecollapsed under the pressure. (CompUSA has been revived in somelocations.)
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