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Best Buy Furloughing Around 51,000 U.S. Workers, CEO Taking 50% Salary Cut

By Eric Volkman - Apr 16, 2020 at 8:33AM

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Most part-time employees of the electronics retailer will be affected by the cull.

Facing a significant strain on its business due to the SARS-CoV-2 coronavirus pandemic, Best Buy (BBY 4.45%) has announced steps to save costs in the near term.

The electronics retailer will furlough roughly 51,000 hourly employees; the vast majority of part-time workers will be part of this cull.

The affected employees will continue to retain their health benefits free of charge for at least three months, Best Buy said, and the company is partnering with its founder Dick Schulze to create a $10 million employee-assistance fund. Both full-time and part-time workers employed by Best Buy over one year can qualify for disbursements from the fund.

Best Buy employee assisting a customer.

Image source: Best Buy.

In the top managerial ranks, CEO Corie Barry is taking a 50% cut to her base salary, while each member of the board of directors will have their cash retainers reduced by 50%. Executives who report to Barry are having their base salaries cut by 20%. All of these adjustments will be in force through Sept. 1, at the earliest. 

Best Buy is also initiating a set of other measures aimed at shoring up its business, including reduced spending on marketing efforts and promotions, and a suspension of its 401(k) matching program.

Finally, the company provided an update on its recent business performance. For the 9-week period ending on April 4, its sales fell by around 5% compared to the same period last year. Still, fueled by a spike in demand for goods related to work-from-home situations in mid-March, its quarter-to-date sales are up by 4%.

Best Buy stock was falling more steeply than the broader market and other prominent consumer goods stocks on Wednesday, at a 6.7% pace. 

Eric Volkman has no position in any of the stocks mentioned. The Motley Fool has no position in any of the stocks mentioned. The Motley Fool has a disclosure policy.

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