6 Chicago-area Best Buy stores closing

April 15, 2012 5:47:08 AM PDT
Best Buy has announced which of its 50 stores around the country will be closed this year, and the closings include six stores in the Chicago area.

The struggling electronics chain is trying to avoid the fate of Circuit City, which went out of business in 2009.

Stores going out of business in our area are in Mundelein, West Dundee, Deerfield, Addision, Matteson and 87th and the Dan Ryan in Chicago.

At a Best Buy store on the South Side, customers were turned away with $10 off coupons after employees were given the bad news.

"This is a hot spot in a mall area, so I'm surprised it's closing," said customer Brian Payton.

In a statement, the company said: "This was not an easy decision to make. We chose these stores carefully, and are working to ensure the impact to our employees will be as minimal as possible, while serving all customers."

"This is the closest one to my house, so I'll have to find another Best Buy," said Charles Dickerson.

It wasn't long ago that Best Buy was flying high following the 2009 collapse of big box competitor circuit city, but soon, what made Best Buy dominant, its size and selection became a liability.

"The consumer, as we age, we don't want to navigate these large stores," said retail consultant John C. Melaniphy III. "We want to be able to get in, find what we need at the best price, and get out."

Melaniphy says Best Buy now faces growing competition from online sellers like Amazon.com, and from bricks-and-mortar retailers like HHGregg, which recently opened 15 Chicago-area stores, capitalizing on low commercial rental rates.

"They were able to undercut Best Buy's sales prices and really heavily promote their name with TV advertising and so forth," Melaniphy said.

The closings are part of Best Buy's overall strategy to shrink and diversify its locations.

The company will soon be opening several smaller stores that focus on selling mobile phones and tablets.

"The consumer wants the latest product at the best price," Melaniphy said. "And if you can't deliver on that promise then you're going to be history."

Best Buy did not say how many workers are affected by the closings, but it says it will try to move as many of those employees as possible to other locations.

Most of those stores will close for good on May 12.