Best Buy is laying off more employees as it reckons with falling sales

June 11, 2024
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Best Buy carried out another round of layoffs and job restructurings last week, with the company cutting some of its sales staff and reducing the pay for others, according to current and former employees who spoke with The Verge. Multiple people said their new pay will be much lower due to the changes.

The layoffs appeared to have mostly targeted in-home sales roles called designers, who would go to customers’ homes to help identify products that would work in their space. It’s not clear how many were let go, but designers who weren’t laid off have been moved into a different, largely in-store role. Also, pay scales for a similar, existing in-store “consultant” position were revamped.

Best Buy confirmed the layoffs in an email to The Verge but declined to share how many people were let go or how pay was changing. “Many of our team members were moved to new areas or roles where our customers need it most,” Best Buy spokesperson Ryan Furlong told The Verge. He said some employees in Best Buy’s “Design and Consult workforce” — the collection of roles with in-store workers (called consultants) and in-home field sales positions (called designers) — will be transitioned into a new “Premium Designer role.”

Best Buy has been drastically restructuring in recent months, responding to factors like falling sales after the pandemic spiked consumer electronics spending. Best Buy CEO Corie Barry told investors in February that they should expect layoffs this year, and two months ago, mass layoffs of Geek Squad employees were reported. Barry repeated similar things during the company’s first quarter earnings call in May, saying that many of Best Buy’s moves to “right size” its business “are being implemented throughout this year.”

Consultants, who previously earned commission on in-store sales, will now be paid based on an average of their previous year’s sales, said one employee who requested anonymity to speak about the changes. Consultants refer some customers to designers, who would go to customers’ homes and help them choose products like Wi-Fi routers or smart home gear to fit their space.

One former employee, who was a designer before being laid off, said people in that role were paid a base $60,000 salary plus commission. Those who weren’t laid off will now earn minimum wage, plus altered commission rates that “won’t make up for the drop in pay.” Before, they said, it was “easy to clear anywhere from $90K – 120K in the role.”

The “in-house advisor” program, which had been going since 2017 according to those I corresponded with, had already been shrinking. One employee said that there was usually one designer per store when it started, but the company gradually reduced designer headcounts. By the time this person was laid off, they were responsible for several stores, they said.

With just over 1,000 stores, the raw number of designers let go is likely low, but others were also affected — one of the employees told me the company also laid off “the majority” of a team that “handled all of our remodels and resets in our stores for redesigns and product launches.”

Some who posted that they were laid off claimed to have been working for Best Buy for more than 10 yearssometimes far more. Employees we spoke with reported having been with the company for over 20 years.

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