The Saga of Best Buy, Barnes & Noble, and JCPenney
These three retailers have been the subject of many blogs on this site, and are back in the news. Read what's new:
Best Buy has seen an uptick in its stock price as sales have improved, costs are being cut, and the threat of a buyout from former CEO Richard Schulze has disappeared. While Best Buy is hardly thriving, it's probably safe to say that new CEO, Hubert Joly, has bought some additional time to right the ship. Joly's begun closing some of the biggest stores in the belief that they probably need a much smaller footprint to be both profitable and competitive. Recently, Best Buy announced plans to roll out a Samsung Store Within a Store which they hope will improve store traffic and boost sales. Will all these changes will allow Best Buy to survive the shift of computer, camera, and smartphone retail sales from brick and mortar to online retailers? Time will tell.
Barnes and Noble
The nation's largest brick and mortar bookseller has also been downsizing. They've been losing business to online book retailers such as Amazon.com and also to buyers shifting from physical books to ebooks. B&N's own entry into ebooks with the Nook eReaders has been eclipsed by Amazon's Kindle. Now, B&N is having distribution difficulties and is at a standoff with leading supplier Simon & Schuster. It seems like they're faced with huge obstacles on nearly every front. As of now, their recovery plan doesn't seem to be working.
This old line retailer has finally thrown in the towel on its groundbreaking fair and square, no couponing strategy and will go back to a conventional high-low pricing model with advertising sale prices and savings. The fair and square experiment caused sales to crater as customers stayed away in droves and JCPenney lost 4.28 billion dollars in sales in the last year. Their new Joe Fresh line has rolled out as they continue to expand their SWAS (Store Within A Store) business concept. It remains to be seen if JCP will be able to win back their customers and if CEO Ron Johnson will survive the cataclysm of the last year.
The economic recovery notwithstanding, 2013 promises to be an interesting year for these three retailers.