(Repeats without change)
* Will match prices at Canadian online retailers
* Piloting smaller format stores
By Allison Martell and Alastair Sharp
TORONTO, July 6 Consumer electronics retailer
Best Buy Inc's (BBY.N) Canadian division is pushing back against
"showrooming", where customers test drive gadgets in store only
to buy them online, the company's Canadian head told Reuters on
Best Buy Canada will now match prices posted by Canadian
online retailers, not just bricks-and-mortar stores. New kiosks
in stores also let customers order products for pick up or home
delivery right away, including categories as diverse as cell
phones, toasters, and hammocks that may not be available on
"It's making showrooming obsolete," said Best Buy Canada
President Mike Pratt. "The winner's not the pure
bricks-and-mortar store, the winner's not the pure web play -
the winner is the combination."
Pratt said most consumers still want and need advice and
service when they shop, especially for electronics.
Best Buy's acting Chief Executive Mike Mikan said at the
company's June annual meeting that he would tackle showrooming,
and look for ways to reduce square footage at the big-box
Mikan's predecessor, Brian Dunn, left abruptly in April,
during an internal investigation that eventually found he had
engaged in an improper relationship with a female employee.
Critics complain that under Dunn, Best Buy, which has
traditionally focused on selling consumer electronics, had
become more like a showroom for Amazon.com Inc (AMZN.O) and its
The company's shares spiked this week on expectations that
founder Richard Schulze, who abruptly resigned from the board
last month, might present a buyout plan, but the stock fell back
on word that any such bid was unlikely to come soon.
The company plans to cut 2,400 jobs, including 600 of its
Geek Squad employees, a spokesman said on Friday. The cuts come
on top of U.S. store closings announced in March.
Christopher Bennett, spokesman for Best Buy Canada, said
there are no job cuts planned in Canada.
SMALL FORMAT EXPANSION
Pratt said Best Buy Canada will launch two 5,000 square foot
pilot stores this fall under its Future Shop banner, one in
Vancouver and one in Brockville, Ontario. Best Buy and Future
Shop big-box stores average more than 25,000 square feet.
"We believe there's a long runway for that type of store,
because we can get into smaller markets across Canada," Pratt
There are no plans to reduce the company's footprint in
major Canadian markets, he said. In the United States, the
company plans to close 50 of its 1,100 biggest stores.
The Canadian division is also expanding its Best Buy Mobile
cell phone kiosks in shopping malls. It has about 40 now, and is
aiming to boost that to 150 to 200 stalls in the next two to
(Reporting By Allison Martell; Editing by Peter Galloway)
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Keywords: BESTBUY CANADA/
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