As COVID-19 continues to impact businesses big and small across America, Best Buy announced Saturday it is closing all of its 997 North America locations temporarily except for curbside pickup services. Best Buy is one of the nation’s largest independent retailers of Apple products.
The Fortune 100 company with 125,000 employees has not offered a timeline for how long the new policy will last.
“We are making the best decisions we can with two goals in mind: protecting employees, customers and their respective families, while trying our best to serve the millions of Americans who rely on us for increasingly vital technology,” said company CEO Corie Barry
When using the curbside service, customers can indicate items they’ve already ordered online or through the company’s app. The company said that those unable to place orders online can have an employee check to see if an item is in-store. An employee will then go in the store to retrieve the item and deliver it outside.
Prior to the announcement, the company made attempts to continue in-store purchases by limiting the number of customers inside at a time, reducing its workforce on staff and shortening its hours of operation, according to Barry.
Home sales surging
Best Buy acknowledged that the coronavirus pandemic is causing an increase in demand for products from people now needing to work from home.
“We are seeing a surge in demand across the country for products that people need to work or learn from home, as well as those products that allow people to refrigerate or freeze food,” Barry said.
Best Buy said it is committed to paying employees for two weeks, even if hours are reduced. “All field employees whose hours have been eliminated will be paid for two weeks at their normal wage rate based on their average hours worked over the last 10 weeks,” the company said.
The Best Buy decision follows that of Apple who closed all its retail outlets outside Mainland China on March 14. Apple’s original timeline to reopen its stores was March 28, but updated wording on its website March 17 changed that to “until further notice.”