Best Buy Layoffs Larger Than Expected; 1,700 Additional Employees To Get The Axe

UPDATE: Yet another Best Buy tipster has come forward to share details and confirm/clarify information regarding the recent staffing changes.

In an e-mail that the source claims was sent from Kris Rosen, Best Buy’s VP of HR U.S. Retail, and Bill Thompson, VP of Field Change and Execution, the company finally gives solid numbers regarding the number of staffers being laid off.

Our sources have had no information regarding numbers, but a Minneapolis TV station first claimed to have confirmation that it was 650 Geek Squad staffers getting the chop. However, a subsequent Wall Street Journal report claimed that it was closer to 600 — but that around 1,800 retail employees would be axed.

According to the e-mail from Best Buy HQ, the Journal was very close to being correct — it confirms the 600 number, but states the impending changes will result in 1,700 retail workers being cut. In total, this means a 2% cut in the company’s workforce, not including those who have already been laid off in recent months following the closure of 50 retail stores.

The executives claim that the PR teams are working with reporters “to correct the story,” but not a single person at Best Buy has responded to any of the Consumerist’s request for comment or clarification.

In the e-mail, the company calls these changes “the next big chapter in our new U.S. Operating Model (USOM) that will better position us to deliver an improved customer and employee experience through a restructure of our store teams and providing a Winning Culture in our stores and the field.”

Reads the epistle from the folks in Richfield, “We’re putting leaders in a better position to lead, coach and train, and our sales and support teams in a better position to take care of our customers.”

The idea, explain the execs, is an “organizational structure that runs from Corporate to the Field and to the Stores.”

===ORIGINAL POST=====

As we were among the first to report this morning, Best Buy is currently in the process of trimming off the staff numbers of its Geek Squad employees. But a new story claims that the layoffs go far beyond the 650 in-home Geek Squad agents and that the company is prepping to hand out more pink slips to its blue-shirters.

The Wall Street Journal confirms that Geek Squad staff is being cut by about 3%, but cites an ever-dependable “person familiar with the situation” as a source for the news that 1,800 retail employees (about 1.4% of the company’s workforce) are also on the chopping block. Like the Geek Squad workers, these dismissed employees will receive severance pay and job-placement assistance.

Earlier today, we told you how tipsters at Best Buy told Consumerist how thousands of employees were told during brief conference calls on July 3 that they would be told about their future at the retailer within a few hours.

Our sources say that the dismissed employees will remain on the job through the end of July — unless they leave before that time for new jobs elsewhere — but that these employees will not be making home deliveries or repair/installation calls.

One source tells Consumerist that this has had a disastrous effect on those employees who have to contact customers to alert them to canceled and rescheduled service appointments.

In an e-mail obtained by Consumerist — and believed to be sent from Best Buy HQ to surviving Geek Squad staffers — the company says the changes are being done to “accelerate change, improve operating performance, and dramatically improve the customer experience.”

Consumerist has made repeated attempts to contact Best Buy PR and has received nothing but out-of-office replies.