Best Buy Co. Inc. laid off 250 workers at its Richfield corporate headquarters Thursday but said it would create 210 new positions for which affected employees could apply.
Spokeswoman Susan Busch said the company would wait until its March earnings report to announce the cost savings for what amounts to a net loss of 40 jobs.
The company, which is the nation's largest consumer-electronics retailer, now has slashed 13.5 percent of its corporate workforce in recent months as sales at its more than 1,175 stores have plunged.
About 500 employees left the company on Feb. 12 after taking a voluntary buyout that was offered to all 4,000 workers at the corporate campus on Penn Avenue that overlooks Interstate 494. No store workers have been part of the layoffs.
Best Buy has seen increased competition from Wal-Mart, Costco and Amazon.com, which has contributed to slower sales and lower profit margins on such popular items as flat-screen televisions, computers and MP3 players. At the same time, recession-plagued consumers are putting off buying the kind of discretionary goods that fill Best Buy's store shelves.
Best Buy in not alone in its struggles to remain profitable during the nation's worst economic downturn since the Great Depression. In 2008, retailers eliminated more than half a million jobs, about 20 percent of the 2.6 million layoffs that occurred nationwide.
More recently, Minneapolis-based Target Corp. laid off a record 9 percent of its corporate workforce in January, about 600 people, and said it would let another 400 positions go dark. And Macy's unloaded about 7,000 workers three weeks ago as part of its largest-ever restructuring effort.
After months of sinking sales, Best Buy executives said in December that they would slash the $1.2 billion budget for capital expansion in half this year, mainly by opening fewer stores in the United States, Canada and China. Officials have not said exactly how many stores it plans to open.
In 2008, Best Buy opened 125 stores worldwide, including its first store in Mexico and two more in China, where there now are six locations.
Managers met with employees individually and in groups Thursday. The company announced on Jan. 27 that more cuts were coming, but didn't say how deep they would go.
The company was light on details Thursday about how the newly created jobs would compare in wages, expertise or job duties to the ones being eliminated, but Busch said the new jobs, which were posted at midday, would offer prevailing market wages. Many of the job losses at corporate headquarters have been related to slower store sales, and Bush said the company is retooling its store model in order to "shift labor dollars to where the customers are."
Jackie Crosby • 612-673-7335