Best Buy Profit Down, Offers Staff Buyouts

Richfield, Minn. Facing what CEO Brad Anderson called the "most challenging consumer environment our company has ever faced," Best Buy announced Tuesday that its third-quarter profit fell 77% to $52 million in the three months ended Nov. 29. That's down from $228 million a year ago.

The company added that it will offer buyout packages to nearly all its corporate employees in an effort to cut costs.

Best Buy said it also plans to cut capital spending by 50% in 2009 and open "significantly" fewer stores in the United States, Canada and China.

Revenue rose 16% to $11.5 billion from $9.93 billion last year. Analysts expected revenue of $11.09 billion. Same-store sales fell 5.3% during the quarter.

Anderson said in an effort to cut costs, nearly all corporate employees are eligible for a voluntary buyout package, which offers a "significant" increase in the company's base severance offer. Layoffs may be required depending on how many staff take the buyout deal.

Best Buy said it expects same-store sales will fall 1.0% to 5% for the year.