Best Buy to cut seasonal staff by half during holidays

Minneapolis -- Best Buy Co. said Tuesday that it has cut its 2011 seasonal hiring plans to about half of last year’s staff numbers, in a move to curtail costs. This year’s plans call for 15,000 holiday workers, compared with 29,000 hired last year.

The retailer said it plans to increase its regular staffers’ hours to compensate for the fewer seasonal workers, and also plans to increase services such as free tech support and a longer window for product returns during the holidays. It will also promote under-$100 deals to promote more sales.

"The consumer continues to be cautious," said CEO Brian Dunn. "That's not just a blip, that's the new normal."