There’s a lot of speculation about who or what is to blame for Best Buy’s decision to shutter 50 of its big box stores. But Goldman Sachs analyst Matthew Fassler thinks a large part of the reason might reside in Seattle, and Amazon.com.
Fassler is quoted by the Associated Press as writing that when it comes to Best Buy’s operations, “competitive pressure may be drifting into market share as well as margin, with Apple stores and Amazon.com the two most likely culprits.”
Today Best Buy announced its fiscal fourth quarter results, showing a large net loss and announcing it would be trying new store formats, opening 100 more small Best Buy Mobile stores, and closing 50 big-box format stores in the U.S.
But not addressed directly in Best Buy’s quarterly statement was the speculation on every tech buyer’s mind — and implied by Goldman Sachs’ Fassler — that too many potential customers are looking at products in physical retailers like Best Buy, then buying them for less at Amazon.com. Turning Best Buy, in effect, into a very well-stocked showroom for web-only retailers.
Though Best Buy did announce 50 pending big-box store closings and says on its corporate site that as of FY 2011 it operated more than 1,100 stores in the U.S., including approximately 20 in Washington State, specific stores slated for closing have not yet been publicly identified.
Previously on GeekWire: If Amazon.com opens physical retail stores, this would be a great place to start
Frank Catalano is a regular GeekWire columnist, and is assisting this week while Todd Bishop is off. You can follow Frank on Twitter @FrankCatalano.