Best Buy Co., Inc. is a Fortune 100 company and the largest specialty retailer of consumer electronics in the United States and Canada, accounting for 17% of the market. The company's subsidiaries include Geek Squad, Magnolia Audio Video, and Future Shop in Canada, which together operate over 1100 stores in the United States and Canada. The company's corporate headquarters are located in Richfield, Minnesota, USA (near Minneapolis).
Best Buy was named "Company of the Year" by Forbes magazine in 2004, "Specialty Retailer of the Decade" by Discount Store News in 2001, ranked in the Top 10 of "America's Most Generous Corporations" by Forbes magazine, and made Fortune Magazine's List of Most Admired Companies in 2006.
1966 -- Richard M. Schulze and business partner open Sound of Music, an audio specialty store, in St. Paul, Minnesota.
1967 -- Sound of Music acquires Kencraft Hi-Fi Company and Bergo Company. Second and third Sound of Music stores are opened near the University of Minnesota and in downtown Minneapolis. The Sound of Music ends its first year with gross sales of $173,000.
1969 -- Sound of Music stock first traded as publicly-held company; company enacts first employee stock option plan; three stores opened in the Twin Cities area.
1970 -- Sound of Music hits the $1 million mark in annual revenues.
1979 -- Sound of Music becomes the first suppliers of video and laser disc equipment include Panasonic, Magnavox, Sony and Sharp.
1981 -- A tornado hits the Roseville, Minnesota store. Sound of Music responds with a Tornado Sale, and it becomes an annual event.
1983 -- Sound of Music’s board of directors approves a new corporate name: Best Buy Co., Inc.; opens first superstore in Burnsville, Minnesota, featuring expanded selling space, a wide assortment of discounted brand-name goods, central service, and warehouse distribution; stores begin selling appliances and VCRs.
1987 -- Best Buy (symbol BBY) debuts on the NYSE with an offering of 8.3 million shares.
1989 -- Best Buy unveils a new grab-and-go store format. Best Buy’s brand logo changes to the familiar yellow tag.
1995 -- Best Buy develops and implements the Standard Operating Platform (SOP) to support and manage every aspect of the company’s business; the Answer Center kiosk is nominated for the Computerworld Smithsonian Award.
1997 -- Best Buy becomes the first national retailer to sell DVD hardware and software.
1998 -- Best Buy sells its 1-millionth DVD, a year after the DVD’s debut. The company also begins selling high-definition TV.
2000 -- Best Buy enters the online retailing business by launching Bestbuy.com; Best Buy acquires Magnolia Hi-Fi (renamed Magnolia Audio Video in 2003), a retailer of high-end consumer electronics; music cassette tapes are removed from most stores.
2001 -- Best Buy acquires the Canada-based electronics-chain Future Shop Ltd. and marks the company's entrance to the international marketplace; Best Buy acquires Musicland, a mall -based retailer for music and entertainment software; Best Buy launches Redline Entertainment, an independent music label and action-sports video distributor.
2002 -- Brad Anderson succeeds Schulze as Best Buy's CEO; the company acquires Geek Squad®, a 24-hour computer support taskforce; first Canadian Best Buy store opens in Toronto, Canada.
2003 -- U.S. Best Buy stores surpass the 600 mark; the company opens its first global sourcing office in Shanghai, China; Fortune magazine ranks Best Buy #4 on its list of most admired U.S. companies in the specialty retailers industry; the corporate offices are consolidated in one headquarters campus; Best Buy divests itself of Musicland; the company begins to segment their stores, which is considered a major part of the company's "customer centricity" transformation; the Reward Zone loyalty program and the Sweet Tracks Christmas music series are both introduced in the U.S.
2004 -- Forbes magazine names Best Buy Company of the Year. Geek Squad precincts are opened in every Best Buy store nationwide, offering in-store service during store business hours; Best Buy offers Learning Place, its post-purchase, online customer service center. Best Buy customers purchase secure access to interactive product user-manuals, live text/voice chat service and a discussion forum to use, fix and extend the products they buy.
2006 -- Best Buy acquires a majority interest in the retail chain Jiangsu Five Star Appliance Co., Ltd. China’s fourth-largest appliance and consumer electronics retailer. Best Buy announced that it plans to open its first Best Buy-branded store in Shanghai. The company opens its 800th store in Chicago, Illinois.
Best Buy sells consumer electronics as well as a wide variety of related merchandise such as computers, software, video games, music, DVDs, cellular phones, digital and video cameras, as well as home appliances (washing machines, dryers, and refrigerators), in a non-commissioned sales environment. Each store also includes a department for A/V equipment for automobiles, offering on-site installation services, as well as a Geek Squad "precinct" for computer repair and warranty service.
Best Buy building exteriors are usually light brown in color with the entrance in an area designed to look like a blue box emerging from the rest of the structure. Older stores have a more utilitarian brick building without the blue structure.
As of February 25, 2006, the company operates 742 Best Buy Stores, 20 Magnolia Audio Video Stores (specializing in high-end electronics), and 12 stand-alone Geek Squad operations through its U.S. retail subsidiary. They also operate 44 Best Buy and 118 Future Shop stores, as well as 5 stand-alone Geek Squad operations in Canada. In 2003, the company opened its first international global procurement office in Shanghai, China, and also operates sourcing offices in Beijing and Shenzhen, primarily to reduce costs and increase the speed to market by purchasing products directly from manufacturers. As of 2006, the company began opening lab stores in China to open an avenue to the Asian market.
Customer Centricity is the name of a business movement centered around catering to specific customer needs and behaviors. Best Buy's concept of customer centricity means configuring its stores to serve the needs of the particular customer segments that predominate in the area of that store. Some of the ways that the Best Buy company transforms its stores for a customer segment, is using different types of store signage, fixtures, lighting and even uniforms. One of the things the company has done for some segments is to create a personal shopping assistant, so that a customer can call and make an appointment for their shopping trip.
Instore display showing a high def video camera vs a SD camera.The company has created "lab stores" (separate from regular segmented stores) to test the area's acceptance to the theme and segment products and services. While the renovation of its stores is expensive, sometimes nearing $1 million per store, CEO & Vice Chairman Brad Anderson claims that stores that have already been transformed have doubled their growth rate versus stores that have yet to be transformed. In 2006, Best Buy continued to expand on the customer centricity operating model by opening or converting 233 U.S. Best Buy stores to the customer centricity operating model. During that same year, Best Buy operated 300 segmented stores, or 40% of the U.S. Best Buy stores. As of February 25, 2006, it operated 742 U.S. Best Buy stores in 49 states and the District of Columbia that averaged approximately 41,300 retail square feet.
Private label brands
As with most retailers, Best Buy owns some of the brands it sells. Best Buy currently has five private labels which include Insignia, Dynex, Init, Geek Squad, and Rocket Fish. Insignia focuses on electronic equipment, including televisions, monitors, car stereos, home theater systems, and portable video and audio players. VPR Matrix (discontinued) focused on personal computers and accessories including desktops, notebooks and computer monitors. Dynex focuses on a wide variety of computer and entertainment accessories such as storage media, data and power cables and office supplies. Init focuses on storage products such as media storage, equipment bags and totes. The Geek Squad brand can be found on the company's high end computer accessories and cables. Rocket Fish focuses on high end cables primarily used with home theater installation and setup.
Best Buy is the primary sponsor for NASCAR team Haas CNC Racing and their driver Jeff Green. The company started sponsoring Haas CNC Racing in 2005 as an associate sponsor with their driver Mike Bliss.