Electronics superstore chain Best Buy (NYSE:BBY) announced late Tuesday, after close of trading, that it intends to reopen the majority of its more than 1,200 stores to in-store shopping next week.
More than 800 Best Buy locations will begin allowing "a limited number" of people back inside the doors on June 15 -- no appointment necessary, the company said.
This represents an expansion of the number of stores opening their doors to customers, as well as a relaxation of the rules for entry. As recently as last month, the retailer was permitting customers entry by appointment only to some 700 locations. However, as Best Buy's president of retail sales Ray Silva explained in the company's statement, "we're now confident we can provide a safe experience for shoppers who want to visit our stores to browse, see tech products firsthand and get helpful advice from our Blue Shirts or Geek Squad Agents."
In this latest stage of the company's reopening, the number of customers inside the store will be limited to 25% of a given store's capacity -- so roughly 60 customers at a time. If more shoppers want to enter than the store can safely accommodate, the doors will close and new customers will have to queue for entry as other customers exit. Stores will also be encouraging shoppers to maintain six feet of distance from one another while inside the stores.
"To support this expanded store experience," Best Buy said, "we are bringing back more than 9,000 of our previously furloughed full- and part-time store employees and Geek Squad Agents."
Best Buy shares are modestly higher on the news in early Wednesday trading.