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Best Buy Co Inc  (BBY)
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Best Buy Co Inc

Business Description

We are a specialty retailer of consumer electronics, home-office products, entertainment software, appliances and related services. We operate retail stores and/or commercial Web sites under the brand names Best Buy (BestBuy .com and BestBuyCanada.ca), Future Shop (FutureShop .ca), Magnolia Audio Video (MagnoliaAV .com) and Geek Squad (GeekSquad .com), as well as an outlet store on eBay.

We were incorporated in the state of Minnesota in 1966 as Sound of Music, Inc., and changed our name to Best Buy Co., Inc. in 1983. We began as an audio components retailer, and with the introduction of the videocassette recorder in the early 1980s, expanded into video products. In 1983, we revised our marketing strategy and began using mass-merchandising techniques, which included offering a wider variety of products and operating stores under a "superstore" concept. In 1989, we dramatically changed our method of retailing by introducing a self-service, noncommissioned, discount-style store concept designed to give the customer more control over the purchasing process.

In fiscal 2000, we established our first online shopping site, BestBuy.com. Our "clicks-and-mortar" strategy is designed to empower consumers to research and purchase products seamlessly either online or in retail stores. Our online shopping site offers products in all of our principal product categories. In fiscal 2004, we continued to make enhancements to improve the shopping experience on our Web sites.

The Best Buy store format has evolved to include more interactive displays and, for certain products, a higher level of customer service, with the latest version designed to increase labor efficiency and to improve merchandising. In fiscal 2000, we introduced a small-market Best Buy store concept that offers merchandise in the same product categories as larger stores, with a product assortment tailored to each respective community. In fiscal 2004, as part of our customer centricity initiative, we developed and tested several new store formats and customized the product offerings within these stores to meet the needs of our customers better.

Our International segment was established in connection with our acquisition of Future Shop Ltd. (Future Shop) in fiscal 2002. During fiscal 2003, we launched our dual-branding strategy in Canada by introducing the Best Buy brand. We continue to believe the Canadian market can support both brands.

International stores use a standardized operating system. The operating system includes procedures for inventory management, transaction processing, customer relations, store administration, staff training and performance appraisal, as well as merchandise display. Advertising, merchandise buying and pricing, and inventory policies are centrally controlled.

International store operations are organized to support two brands, each headed by a vice president. Each vice president has regional management who closely monitor store operations and meet regularly with store managers to review management and staff training programs, customer feedback and requests, store operating performance and other matters. Meetings involving store management, product managers, advertising, financial and administrative staff, as well as senior management, are held quarterly to review operating results and to establish future objectives.

International stores are generally open 60 to 75 hours per week, seven days a week. A typical store is staffed by a general manager, several department sales managers, a customer service manager, and 48 to 95 full-time staff associates, as well as part-time associates. The number of full-time staff associates is dependent upon store size, sales volume and store brand.

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