In a ‘Switch,’ Best Buy Opens First Big-Box Store in Seven Years

Best Buy, still one of the leading sellers of Blu-ray Disc and DVD software and hardware, is opening its first new big-box store in the U.S. in seven years, the Minneapolis Star-Tribune reports.

The consumer electronics chain is building a 36,000-square-foot store into a mixed-use “lifestyle center” called Station Park in a suburb north of Salt Lake City, the paper reported. The new store is scheduled to open this fall and is located in an area where the nearest Best Buy stores are more than 15 miles away.

“We’re excited to be opening a brand-new store in a popular shopping center in a growing part of the Salt Lake City market,” Jeff Shelman, a Best Buy spokesman, told the paper. He did not say whether Best Buy plans on opening any additional stores.

“While this doesn’t appear to be the start of a significant new trend for Best Buy, it is notable that the retailer is still open to and looking at opportunities for new stores now that it has emerged from a turnaround,” according to the Star-Tribune article. “Some skeptics thought Best Buy would not survive the Amazon onslaught. Not only has it done so, but it recently reported its best holiday quarter in 14 years, with same-store sales jumping an eye-popping 9%.”

Best Buy has been closing about a dozen of its big-box stores a year: 18 last year, 11 in 2016 and 13 in 2015. The chain currently has about 1,500 stores in the United States.

The Minneapolis, Minn.-based company reported a 12.6% increase in same-store entertainment sales through Feb. 3, 2018.

“Comparable sales gain was driven primarily by gaming hardware,” Best Buy said in its fiscal 10Q report.

Best Buy saw entertainment revenue top 8% ($3 billion) of domestic revenue, up from 7% ($2.5 billion) in 2016.

Observers attribute the uptick to sales of Nintendo’s hot new Switch video game console.

“It’s all related to Switch,” Michael Pachter, media analyst at Wedbush Securities in Los Angeles, told Media Play News.

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