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Best Buy posts 52% profit increase for Q3

When it comes to the realm of consumer electronics, Best Buy is the reigning retail leader. Best Buy's market dominance was made even clearer with the company's fiscal 2008 Q3 earnings report.

Best Buy reported a 52% increase in its Q3 profits compared to the same period one year ago. In addition, overall quarterly revenue rose 17% from $8.5 billion USD to $9.9 billion USD thanks to 45 new store openings during the quarter. Revenue from Best Buy's online division helped the total with a 65% increase from fiscal 2007 Q3.

Not surprisingly, Best Buy attributed an extra week of after Thanksgiving revenue for its stellar third quarter performance.

Hot items for Best Buy during Q3 included consoles, flat-panel TVs, notebook computers and GPS units. When all was said and done, Best Buy's sales mix for the third quarter was 41%, 28%, 19%, 6% and 6% respectively for Consumer Electronics, Home Office, Entertainment Software, Appliances and Services.

"We are very encouraged by the strengthening we’re seeing in our customer relationships as well as our solid financial performance," said Brad Anderson, Best Buy's CEO and Vice Chairman. "The loyalty that our employees are building with customers will enable us to expand those relationships into new areas of growth in the future. Our employees should be proud of their performance in the quarter. It gives us momentum for the next leg of our growth journey. This is truly a very exciting time in our industry -- for our customers and for our company."

"We are pleased with the third quarter’s results and now forecast greater earnings growth for the year," said interim Chief Financial Officer and Senior Vice President of Finance Jim Muehlbauer. The ability of our employees to deliver exceptional operating results in a challenging macro environment reflects their focus on the customer and the relative strength of our categories in the current marketplace."

Best Buy's strong Q3 performance comes just weeks after CompUSA announced that it would close all of its stores during the opening months of 2008. CompUSA lost $45.7 million USD during Q3 2007 on revenues $424 million USD. CompUSA closed 126 stores earlier this year in order to trim dead weight, but that was not enough to stop the ship from sinking.

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Best Buy
By rickon66 on 12/20/2007 2:37:26 PM , Rating: 5
Best Buy did this as it phased out mail in rebates. That should send a message to All retailers, both B&M and online that the road to sucess is not through rebates!

RE: Best Buy
By bighairycamel on 12/20/2007 2:46:17 PM , Rating: 2
Correct me if I'm wrong, but I thought they only phased out store MIRs, not manufacturer MIRs.

RE: Best Buy
By Brandon Hill on 12/20/2007 2:49:57 PM , Rating: 3
Browsing through their current circular, I don't see any rebates of any kind.

RE: Best Buy
By Samus on 12/21/2007 11:35:28 AM , Rating: 2
My shopping at Best Buy has increased exponentially after they phased out rebates a few years ago. Being able to walk in a B&M and pick up a hard drive or memory upgrade for a decent price and no rebates is very nice.

I commend OfficeMax for the same strategy...the Soyo 24" LCD being the most recent thing I purchased there, for $300, no rebate.

RE: Best Buy
By RjBass on 12/21/2007 3:36:19 PM , Rating: 3
My shopping at Best Buy has seriously gone down since only a few months ago when I went in to get a simple USB cable for a printer and they wanted $35 + tax for a 4ft cable.

I went over to Target across the street and picked up a 6ft USB cable for only $9.99.

It seems to me that the main reason why Best Buy is posting such enormous gains is because they are practically robbing their customers. They might as well put their greeters in ski mask and give them shotguns.

RE: Best Buy
By JonnyDough on 12/21/2007 5:42:16 PM , Rating: 1
I still find it hard to forgive Best Buy, considering all the money they made by ripping people off of rebates. Not to mention their profiling system that tells their salespeople to ignore certain customers over others.

I also don't like my purchases being tracked, my address and phone numbers being sold to third parties, and the list goes on. I love being "recommended" components for my computer that are not only way over-priced and old technology (such as video cards), but also sometimes not even compatible. Newsflash. If you don't know what you're talking about, don't try to sell me something. Thanks.

Regardless, I can find things cheaper online usually. With the cost of gas, the free shipping I get with NewEgg seems a good deal cheaper than driving 15 miles to the nearest Best Buy store anyway.

RE: Best Buy
By FITCamaro on 12/20/2007 2:50:22 PM , Rating: 2
I'm pretty sure this is correct. However its still big as their rebates on things like computers used to be in the $100-200 range.

As long as people don't send in rebates, manufacturers will continue to favor them because its great incentive for customers to buy their products and they don't always have to loose the money since the people don't send them in.

RE: Best Buy
By Oregonian2 on 12/20/2007 4:50:09 PM , Rating: 2
CompUSA was the ultimate in rebates!

RE: Best Buy
By rudy on 12/20/2007 5:32:03 PM , Rating: 2
Yes and before I heard they were going under I ended up with over 250$ in rebates which I will now not get, I signed up through comcast through them. Now i just plain lose it and am pretty angry about it. Going to return the modem soon.

RE: Best Buy
By Oroka on 12/20/2007 2:49:25 PM , Rating: 2
Rebates are fine, a bonus even, but dont advertise $19.99* when you have to pay $50 upfront. I have complained to several online computer retailers, and atleast 1 has started listing regular price first, then with rebate in red under it.

Rule of thumb is, listen to your customers and they will come back with thier friends. Ignore them and they leave in droves and bad mouth you every way they can (ie Radio Shack/The Source).

RE: Best Buy
By ebakke on 12/20/2007 2:59:38 PM , Rating: 3
God, I hate Radio Shack.

RE: Best Buy
By Brandon Hill on 12/20/2007 3:02:47 PM , Rating: 3
I love Radio Shack. I don't purchase major items from them, but when I need the odd audio cable, video connector or other random electronic parts (at a decent price), there's always one within about 5 minutes from anywhere in town.

RE: Best Buy
By ebakke on 12/20/2007 3:07:04 PM , Rating: 5
As soon as the internet provided the products that Radio Shack does, I stopped going there. Internet = lower prices, and better service (at least from the Radio Shack's I've been in). I can wait a few days for that odd cable.

RE: Best Buy
By onwisconsin on 12/20/2007 3:19:55 PM , Rating: 5
Homer: We'll search out every place a sick twisted solitary misfit might run to.
Lisa: I'll start with Radio Shack!

RE: Best Buy
By FITCamaro on 12/20/2007 3:24:07 PM , Rating: 2
Yeah but from what I've found is that while the cost might be lower, they get you in the shipping. A $5 cable thats $12 at Radio Shack will often have $5 in shipping charges. So is saving $2 worth waiting 3-4 days. Usually I'd just rather have it right away. Now if the difference with shipping is over $5 and I don't need it right away, then I'll buy it online.

RE: Best Buy
By BladeVenom on 12/20/2007 3:56:51 PM , Rating: 3
There's also wanting or needing it now. So until internet store can get it delivered faster than pizza, I will still occasionally use B&M stores.

RE: Best Buy
By bigboxes on 12/20/2007 6:43:41 PM , Rating: 2
Radio Shack is sooooo overpriced. When shopping online for anything I always factor in shipping. When shopping locally I factor in sales tax. In the end Radio Shack gouges you for that one cable. Thank God I live with in a stone's throw of Fry's.

And Best Buy can drop off the face of the Earth and I wouldn't lose any sleep. I don't care about rebates as long as the retailer is up front about it and not in the fine print. BB lost me due to corporate indifference. I had spent a lot of $$ there and they didn't care about my interests. Well, I just stopped shopping there and I tell everyone else how bad they are. There are too many other retailers out there. If they want me to remain loyal then they need to treat me with respect. The choice is mine. They don't choose to serve me. I choose (or not) to shop with them.

RE: Best Buy
By rebturtle on 12/20/2007 9:59:28 PM , Rating: 2
In the end Radio Shack gouges you for that one cable. Thank God I live with in a stone's throw of Fry's.

Funny, they are both owned by the Tandy corp. You've redirected your money into the same pockets. They simply serve different markets for many of the same things. Fry's competes with the larger B&M stores, and Radio Shack is for the convenience of everyone in every small town in America. You know, that $5 cable, or some bomb making parts....

RE: Best Buy
By bigboxes on 12/20/2007 10:38:15 PM , Rating: 2
Uh no. Fry's is not owned by Tandy. Recently Tandy renamed itself Radio Shack Corporation. Tandy did own Incredible Universe and when that venture went bust it did sell about 10 locations (including the store in Arlington that I mention) to Fry's. I also never said that I loved everything Fry's. It's a buyer beware world. If I don't need something immediately then I usually order online and show some patience. I had three boxes waiting for me when I got home. But, as I said previously, I need a cable Fry's doesn't gouge you.

RE: Best Buy
By rebturtle on 12/21/2007 8:08:19 PM , Rating: 2
Fry's is not owned by Tandy. Recently Tandy renamed itself Radio Shack Corporation. Tandy did own Incredible Universe and when that venture went bust it did sell about 10 locations (including the store in Arlington that I mention) to Fry's.

Oops, you got me on that one! I was running with (bad) information that someone else had given me without checking it out first.

RE: Best Buy
By whymeintrouble on 12/22/2007 3:55:25 AM , Rating: 2
But, as I said previously, I need a cable Fry's doesn't gouge you.

if you knew how much those cables really cost you would need to reevaluate your comments on that

RE: Best Buy
By bigboxes on 12/22/2007 7:22:12 PM , Rating: 2
So, is this a "gotcha" forum or what? See, I don't buy all my stuff at Fry's. It's convenient. Yeah, I know that many times get the product cheaper online and I'm patient. So, if I don't need it ASAP (new build in dire need of "whatever") then I just patiently wait for it online. My "gouge" statement pertains to Radio Shack. I'm not retarded and purchase that gold-plated USB cable. I save almost all of my cables and such that are included with many of the products I do purchase for "just in case".

RE: Best Buy
By pixelslave on 12/21/2007 10:27:29 AM , Rating: 2
Never shop at Radio Shack online before, but $5 in shipping charge isn't expensive if they are shipped thru Fedex Ground or UPS Ground.

RE: Best Buy
By Oregonian2 on 12/20/2007 4:55:01 PM , Rating: 2
They're useful sometimes, but I hate the store. I once stood at the cash register with cash in hand and a small item that would have taken 15 seconds and I had to wait a LOOOOONG time until someone finished with yakking about cell phones with someone. Nobody in the store to take my money. Should have just walked out with the item. Cables I can now get MUCH cheaper and in wider array from (use local pickup) and random other parts I would either get from or or at fry's (about a 20 minute drive).

RE: Best Buy
By Oregonian2 on 12/20/2007 4:57:57 PM , Rating: 2
P.S. - To stay in topic, I did contribute mightily to Best Buy's sales through purchase of a large new plasma TV from Magnolia (a store the own) about a week ago.

RE: Best Buy
By jonmcc33 on 12/20/2007 6:17:49 PM , Rating: 2
Make sure that it's brand new and not pre-owned/returned. Best Buy is notorious for reselling returned products as new.

I will toss in my own comment that this news is alarming considering how much the Geek Squad rips people off and destroys functional hardware. I have been boycotting Best Buy for nearly a year now. They will never see another penny from me.

RE: Best Buy
By Master Kenobi on 12/20/2007 6:25:35 PM , Rating: 2
I worked for Geek Squad once upon a time..... They should be charged for extortion.

RE: Best Buy
By Oregonian2 on 12/20/2007 6:53:21 PM , Rating: 2
Mine came through the Magnolia portion (stand-alone store, there long long before BB bought them out) and the particular set is relatively rare (a Panny TH-58PZ750U) that even panasonic's own site has had backordered for a month or two (and still was a day or two ago when I last looked). Crutchfield was out of stock until last week Thursday on the East Coast curiously on the same day mine showed up at the Magnolia store here after almost a week's wait. FWIW the remote was in what looks like a tape-sealed bag that looks untouched. Can't tell looking at the set itself other than it looks spotless even where the rear mounting racks would screw on. So at least visually it looks new. For this kind of money (obscene) it should be both new and spectacular (and do so for longer than ten years). :-)

RE: Best Buy
By mindless1 on 12/21/2007 5:48:13 AM , Rating: 3
I hate waiting at Radio Shack too, but I am glad they spend so much time raking in revenue with their cell phone plans, because it has helped keep them in business just in case I do ever need some odd part at a moment's notice instead of waiting for online delivery, especially something small like discrete electrical or electronic parts where the shipping cost online is more than the part itself costs, let alone having to wait a week.

RE: Best Buy
By retrospooty on 12/20/2007 3:44:25 PM , Rating: 2
and why the hell so they always insist on knowing my phone #? ack! ;)

RE: Best Buy
By BMFPitt on 12/20/2007 3:59:03 PM , Rating: 2
I always give them 555-XXXX numbers.

RE: Best Buy
By retrospooty on 12/20/2007 5:50:40 PM , Rating: 2
LOL - yup, me too. I am always 555-1212. They know its not real, I just don't want to give them my number and they freak out if you just don't give anything.

RE: Best Buy
By JazzMang on 12/20/2007 10:48:39 PM , Rating: 2
Just tell them to bypass it. I do it all the time.

RE: Best Buy
By TomZ on 12/20/2007 4:10:38 PM , Rating: 1
The phone number is their database key to bring up your contact info - name and address mainly - so they can send you or continue to send you their promotional mailings. I don't think they actually use the phone number directly. Other retailers do the same thing.

RE: Best Buy
By Zelvek on 12/20/2007 4:22:48 PM , Rating: 3
If you lose your receipt they can bring up a history of your transactions, a lot of retailers use this as its a unique ID and easy for the customer to remember. As for mailing I'm not sure about the States but in Canada the source just mails fliers out to everyone in a certain radius of their stores, regardless of weather you've bought from them or not.

RE: Best Buy
By AstroCreep on 12/20/2007 4:47:26 PM , Rating: 2
I worked there years ago (worst place I ever worked at), but as I was leaving the new mandate was "Don't ask customers for their info" (aside from returns).
Are there still RadioShacks that ask for that info? :/

RE: Best Buy
By mindless1 on 12/21/2007 5:53:33 AM , Rating: 2
I know a fellow that worked there a few years back, vaguely recall hearing that their official policy changed such that they would ask the customer for telephone but can't insist on it - the customer merely says "no" and that's (supposed to be) the end of it.

RE: Best Buy
By Zelvek on 12/20/2007 3:20:57 PM , Rating: 1
I have totally mixed feelings on the Source. The dealer stores in my experience provided the best service of any electronics retailer I've ever been to. The corporate stores on the other hand have been in many cases the complete opposite. Obviously when your life's savings are on the line your gonna give a shit. The corporate side of things really needs to clamp down.

RE: Best Buy
By MrTeal on 12/20/2007 3:36:13 PM , Rating: 2
I dislike Radio Shack, but that might just be because of the difference between what I expect from the store, and what management does. Every time I go in there it's for some little piece of electronic gear, and it's too late or on the weekend and you can't get it anywhere else. Used to be that you could get a transistor and a few resistors, and the guy behind the counter might even know what the things are and help you find them.

Now, they carry nothing, and if it's not some crappy toy car or a cell phone the staff doesn't have a clue. I still go in if I need something, and I'm almost always disappointed.

RE: Best Buy
By lakingsgeek on 12/20/2007 4:56:30 PM , Rating: 2
Now, they carry nothing, and if it's not some crappy toy car or a cell phone the staff doesn't have a clue. I still go in if I need something, and I'm almost always disappointed.

You hit the nail on the head. Radio Shack no longer carries the same kind of stuff they use to. It's mostly just the same stuff you can find at Best Buy except no selection and even worse prices. I only go there when I need some kind of basic cable at that very moment. In fact, I might stop there tonight to replace a optical audio cable my cat chewed up.

RE: Best Buy
By Oregonian2 on 12/20/2007 5:04:01 PM , Rating: 2
True. They're trying to compete with the big guys head on rather than stying in their niche. Perhaps they don't remember how well their venture into the "Incredible Universe" went (to their credit, they built a REALLY HUGE one in my metro area, and its now one of Fry's larger stores and has been for along time, complete with huge parking lot (which makes the one at Fry's Las Vegas look small despite being a much newer one). Now only if Fry's would repaint the bathrooms, they're still the lavender/purple of Incredible Universe which it hasn't been in a looooooooong time (rest was gotten rid of up front, just the bathrooms weren't repainted -- at least the men's anyway).

RE: Best Buy
By rudy on 12/20/2007 5:39:27 PM , Rating: 2
I think the problem is they no longer have a niche. Their electronics section became outdated and the good old days of people fixing their own stuff are gone. The real electronics kids now go online to get that specialized stuff. Radio shack started doing cell phones to get in profit and they turned pretty much all the way over to that. Now they are just a dead store that doesn't realize its over. Also as for their cables yeah some are cheap but its total crap. Take for instance their Coaxial cable parts most cable repair guys will tell you to avoid the crap at radio shack so sadly you goto home depot for that where they actually have decent stuff. So if they dont have quality, or selection, or niche items they have nothing. It is the most useless store out there now.

RE: Best Buy
By bearxor on 12/21/2007 12:40:15 PM , Rating: 3
This is the problem. People aren't interested in doing it themselves anymore, they just want to buy the whole thing.

I worked there up until about 2002 and that was the realization the company was coming to and so they are trying to position themselves as a smaller, friendly electronics store with more knowledgeable staff than BB, CC, etc.

At least when I worked there they had a knowledgeable employee :).

RE: Best Buy
By Aeros on 12/20/2007 3:27:52 PM , Rating: 2
If only they'd sell CPU's, Motherboards and RAM (other than Kinston/PNY). Other than that BB is the only place in town where you can same day buy what you want without the hassle of shipping. If what you want is mediocre and overpriced that is.

RE: Best Buy
By TALENT on 12/20/2007 9:01:52 PM , Rating: 2
Last 3 times I have gone to BestBuy I got great service, great prices and everything I was looking for was easy to find. Really can't ask much more than that. I used to hate the big box stores but Best Buy has been winning me over.

RE: Best Buy
By Omega215D on 12/20/2007 10:13:14 PM , Rating: 2
I guess I have to agree. I bought the hard to find GeForce 8800GT 512 and it was on sale for $237 before some other discount that I forgot about... now they are selling the Radeon 3870 for $215 but online only and it's not in stock so we'll see how that goes.

I also like the fact that I get to see the gaming mice before I make a decision to buy them. From the Microsoft Sidewinder to Razer Lachesis and they're at reasonable prices.

Now CompUSA wasn't too bad. I can get some good CPU and GPU coolers for a pretty good price and I get the benefit of getting a good look at them before buying. Everything else seems to be overpriced but we'll see how the prices look after the holidays. In NYC we've got 2 of those stores here.

RE: Best Buy
By exanimas on 12/21/2007 1:43:47 AM , Rating: 1
Just like any big store, it all depends on who you ask. I work at a Best Buy and I'm in no way trying to say that everyone there tries to be helpful or knows everything about the product in their department, but some of us do. Another thing is people assume if we don't know the answer to their question then we know nothing. "Why doesn't my AOL work anymore?... WHAT YOU DON'T KNOW ZOMG MORON". It happens all the time.

Another thing, while I'm ranting, is people will come up and ask me a question about something that isn't my department and get angry that I don't know the answer and have to get someone more knowledgeable about that product to help them.

Experiencing things from the other side made me see all these "BEST BUY SUCKS!!!!11" and other such comments people usually go and post on the internet were probably made by the same dumbasses that try to return a camera with a cracked LCD and "will never shop at Best Buy again" because we refused to take it back or some other such nonsense. /therapysession

RE: Best Buy
By livelouddiefast on 12/21/2007 4:42:49 AM , Rating: 2
us retail sales people really need a site to vent... kind of like group therapy. It's good to know that we all have the same struggles.

/end emo

RE: Best Buy
By therealnickdanger on 12/21/2007 10:35:07 AM , Rating: 2
Having been involved in computer/tech sales for over 10 years now, I'm suprised there isn't a "" or something...

OK, just checked Google: LMAO!

Some customers do get screwed, there's no doubt, but I guarantee that the store/employee gets screwed the overwhelming majority of the time.

RE: Best Buy
By mindless1 on 12/21/2007 5:42:00 AM , Rating: 2
Completely unsupported guess on your part, and faulty logic since plenty of large eStores offer them (anybody heard of Newegg,, Amazon, etc, etc, etc?).

Circuit City
By Murst on 12/20/2007 3:39:05 PM , Rating: 2
I think a large reason why BB is doing so well these days is also because CC is not. They've had a lot of stores close last year. Generally, CC and BB were built pretty close to each other, so if one closes, most of that traffic will be picked up by the other.

RE: Circuit City
By therealnickdanger on 12/20/2007 4:34:35 PM , Rating: 2
The reason CC has been struggling is because BB has been dominating. I work for BB on occasion and they continously surpass 20% margins day in and day out. They have a streamlined operation that generates money faster than a mutated money tree. I'm proud of my Minnesota company!

I never worked for CC, but when I worked for CompUSA, we struggled to hit margins of 3%. We had many negative margin days as well, and we were considered middle of the pack for our district. You can't stay in business if you don't make money... simple rule.

RE: Circuit City
By TomZ on 12/20/2007 5:03:09 PM , Rating: 1
As a customer, I see CC and BB as the same - they both suck, no offense. The high level of technical ignorance and misinformation, mediocre prices, and poor service - forget about it.

I'll order from an Internet retailer 99% of the time instead. I always get a great price, it's easy to shop and compare, the stuff shows up right at my door, I almost never pay extra for shipping, and I always "forget" to pay the sales tax.

RE: Circuit City
By Oregonian2 on 12/20/2007 5:05:38 PM , Rating: 2
I found smarter/friendlier folk at CC in the past, but that was before they fired all their experienced folk to save money.

RE: Circuit City
By MScrip on 12/21/2007 1:35:38 AM , Rating: 2
> "The high level of technical ignorance and misinformation"

Oh, come on. The kids they have working at BB and CC are just working their way through school. Do you expect them to know anything about the products?

You don't go to the grocery store for recipes and cooking tips, either.

RE: Circuit City
By TomZ on 12/21/2007 8:41:59 AM , Rating: 2
Oh, come on. The kids they have working at BB and CC are just working their way through school. Do you expect them to know anything about the products?

That's a cop-out. These are "professional" (as in paid) sales people. They should have decent knowledge of the products and/or receive on-the-job training. Is it too much to expect to be able to ask a question about the product and get a reasonable (truthful) answer?

The grocery store doesn't have paid sales people, so that's a different situation. Better analogy would be expecting a car salesman to know something about cars, e.g., what's the difference between FWD, RWD, and AWD.

RE: Circuit City
By therealnickdanger on 12/21/2007 9:04:37 AM , Rating: 2
These are "professional" (as in paid) sales people.

Keyword "sales". Their job is to be good at selling - which doesn't require product knowledge, sadly.

They should have decent knowledge of the products and/or receive on-the-job training.

They do! Vendors come in all the time to tell them about their amazing products and how they cure cancer and so forth. BB employees are required to take store-certified training "modules" on all manner of products. However, the training modules are usually nothing more than interactive advertisements with marketing bullet points.

Better analogy would be expecting a car salesman to know something about cars

When is the last time you spoke to a knowledgeable car salesman? Again, it's a case of selling skill (B.S.-skill) versus knowledge. That's why when you go to a dealership "service center", you talk directly to the service salesman and not the grease monkey that does the work. That buffer ensures that you pay through the ass for things you don't need. That's the thing about competitive sales, everyone has access to the same facts, but it's HOW you sell products and the price you sell them that determines who wins. For the cud-chewing, semi-ignorant mass populace, BB/CC are more than sufficient.

I go to BB for the price and their willingness to haggle on some products - not for knowledge.

RE: Circuit City
By rushfan2006 on 12/21/2007 1:47:18 PM , Rating: 2
Keyword "sales". Their job is to be good at selling - which doesn't require product knowledge, sadly.

How old are you? No I'm not being sarcastic or mean with that -- I'm just curious if your age jives with my own theory. My theory that the younger people today have a completely different outlook on life these days. One of the major differences being work ethic.

Saying that being good a sales doesn't require product knowledge is pretty much, in a round about way saying the customer is a friggin idiot. Its saying the most people just care about being charmed or whatever and not in what they are actually plunking their money down for. Kids yeah - charm will get them, or just because their sales person was "smoking hot" looking.

As you sell to a more mature crowd - its definitely more about value and what the product offers.

When it comes to my money, you are going to have to earn it from me with product knowledge more than just looking hot (saleswoman) or being slick (salesman). That stuff is for teenagers or dolts.

Btw, there are TWO car salesman who are friends of the family - both of them I assure you know next to everything about the vehicles they sell. Of course one was also a mechanic for 20 years, and the other was President of a regional Corvette fan club (he's a sales manager for Chevy now).

Finally in all the companies I've ever worked for our sales people always mastered the knowledge of the product they sell.

Its laughable to read your quote -- sales doesn't require product knowledge.

RE: Circuit City
By therealnickdanger on 12/21/2007 3:02:03 PM , Rating: 2
How old are you?

Not relevant, but I'm almost 28, with 12 fairly solid years of successful full-time and part-time sales and management experience at CompUSA and Best Buy. Perhaps I didn't flesh out my comment well enough, but I stand behind it.

Customers break down to two essential groups - ignorant and knowledgeable. Ignorance doesn't imply stupidity, that's a failure of linguistic comprehension.

Knowledgeable customers know what they want, how much they want to pay, and don't need someone to tell them technical details, just for someone to get it off the high shelf. Knowledgeable customers are definitely in the minority. With knowledgeable customers, as a salesman, you have to respond quickly and typically be more accommodating. They can sometimes be belligerent, so you have to watch your step. Don't engage them in technical details unless you know the product backward and forward. This person is usually the one that others come to for computer or tech advice. If you are on his level or above, you can usually get along well with him, build rapport easily, and B.S. with him for extended periods. You can't sell him overpriced cables or other accessories, he's on a mission. With enough trust, he may buy services or warranties from you though.

Ignorant customers, on the other hand, are the overwhelming majority. They either don't have the time or don't take the time to read up many details. These people - unlike everyone here - don't read technical information of any kind. These folks will ask you questions like, "Does it have HDVI plugs?" They know many buzzwords, they have at least one knowledgeable friend that told them what they need to buy, and they are afraid that their purchase will not work when they get home. These people are where the money is made. High-margin accessories and services flow like water from a burst dam. Between reading the product cheat sheet under the display aloud for them and telling them which ones you sell the most of and which ones get returned the most, you can sell them anything. Naturally, the degree to which you "extort" this will determine how good your sales numbers are. So long as you don't go overboard, they will be happy with their purchases.

It may sound underhanded, but there's a threshold between what people want, what they are willing to understand, and the line of people behind them waiting for your help. You have to be able to guage that on the fly. Your demeanor and skill at building rapport give you a greater advantage than knowing a bunch of facts. That's what being a good salesman is all about.

I don't doubt that your car salesman friends know about cars - there are plenty of salesmen that know a lot about the products they sell. However, at the level we're talking about, brick'n'mortar consumer electronics retailers, you would be shocked at how ignorant the process is. People want to know a) will it work? b) is it a good value? A good salesman answers these questions, he doesn't impress with techno-babble.

Naturally, when you move up to corporate-level sales and high-dollar goods and services, the market becomes more competitive, more niche, and it demands more of its sales staff. At this level, you need the whole package: knowledge, intense drive, and established rapport-building skills. But we're talking about $9/hour everyday retail employees...

RE: Circuit City
By jeff834 on 12/22/2007 12:31:29 AM , Rating: 2
As someone who has sold electronics, computers, TVs, and appliances at Staples, Circuit City, Best Buy, Sears, and another local store I could not agree more with this post. You have really summed up everything about electronics sales perfectly. Actually one of the reasons I left Best Buy was because of my requirement to sell ridiculously priced services and accessories to people who don't really need them. My favorite was the $30 gold plated USB cable that had a store cost of $1.29. If anything I tried to share too much product knowledge with customers.

On a side note, I am personally 26 years old, but I have to say on average the people who didn't want to be given a lot of facts about products tended to be older, in the middle age or especially elderly range. Those are the people who you could sell anything to even if you knew nothing about it. It's actually the younger crowd that tends to want more technical information.

RE: Circuit City
By pgoggins on 12/23/2007 6:38:44 PM , Rating: 2

As a whole I'd have to agree. Most of the people working in BB & CC where I am are late teens or in there 20's with most of them being college kids (college town, go figure). They have the job because 1) they need the money and 2) the discounts(most of the ones I know work just enough to get it).

Are they experts? Most know what they need to know, what is that? A little bit more than the average consumer. Does it sell the products? Yes, it does. Usually they have a sales pitch with some common buzz-words or some basics that they know which is more than what the average consumer knows.

The "average consumer" is lacking in knowledge when it comes to technology (12 o'clock flashers raise your hand). If thing think this isn't the case, take a walk through the stores and listen to the conversations. The customer has buzzwords HDMI, Surround Sound, Plasma, LCD, ect from commercials and other forms advertising which gets them introduced at the most basic level to what is out there. If you take a look at the largest populous group in the US, the baby-boomers think about what they were raised up with. I know a few who have kept up on technology but most have an extremely general sense of knowledge which allows them false-confidence as they are the generation which has been known to push the limits and try knew things are often the prey of the BB and CC's of the world which have staffing to push sales of the highest markup items (sell the monster optical cables for $80 when the employee price is $20 and the online price is $8....).

If you think this is off-base feel free to reply. I am a late gen-x/early gen-y for an age group and have been working in IT for 9 years. I've done my share of modding, soldering custom A/V setups, networking, desktop support, and more.

RE: Circuit City
By Zelvek on 12/21/2007 1:00:58 PM , Rating: 2
Have you lost your mind? Do you even have a remote clue how f**king imposible it would be to memorize every feature of every product in one department? Look at the number of digital cameras a electronics retailer sells, look at how many specs one of those cameras has and then take into consideration how quickly cameras come and go.

here are the specs to just one camera. try to memorize that times 60 then memorize some specs for a few accessories (try to solve sony memory card compatibilities)and then redo this every few months. Oh and keep up with the rest of your life like say school while your at it.

FinePix F50fd
Number of effective pixels*1

12 million pixels
CCD sensor

1/1.6-inch Super CCD HR
Storage media

* Internal memory (approx. 25MB)
* xD-Picture Card™ (16MB - 2GB)
* SD memory card
* SDHC memory card*2

File format

Still image

JPEG (Exif Ver 2.2*3)

AVI (Motion JPEG) with sound

WAVE format, Monaural sound

(Design rule for Camera File system compliant / DPOF-compatible)
Number of recorded pixels

Still image: 4,000x3,000 / 4,224x2,816 (3:2 format) / 2,848x2,136 / 2,048x1,536 / 1,600x1,200 / 640x480 pixels

Fujinon 3x Optical zoom lens, F2.8 - F5.1
Lens focal length

f=8.0mm - 24.0mm, Equivalent to 35-105mm on a 35mm camera
Digital zoom

Approx. 8.2x (max.)

F2.8 - F8
Focus distance


* Wide Angle: approx. 45cm/1.5ft to infinity
* Telephoto: approx. 60cm/2.0ft to infinity


* Wide Angle: approx. 7cm/2.8in. to 80cm/2.6ft
* Telephoto: approx. 30cm/1.0ft to 80cm/2.6ft


AUTO / Auto (ISO1600) / AUTO (ISO800) / AUTO (ISO400) / Equivalent to ISO100 / 200 / 400 / 800 / 1600 / 3200 / 6400 (Standard Output Sensitivity)

Exposure control

TTL 256-zone metering
Exposure modes

Programmed AE, Aperture Priority AE, Shutter Priority AE
Shooting modes

Mode dial

Auto, Natural Light, Natural Light & with Flash, SP1, SP2, A/S (Aperture or Shutter priority AE), M (Manuial), Movie

Portrait, Portrait Enhancer, Landscape, Sport, Night, Fireworks, Sunset, Snow, Beach, Underwater, Museum, Party, Flower, Text

Image Stabilizer

CCD-shift type
Shutter speed

8sec. to 1/2000 sec. (depending on Shooting mode)
Continuous shooting

* Top-3 (max 2 frames/sec), High-speed Top-12 (max 5 frames/sec, 3M pixels or lower)
* Final-3 (max 2 frames/sec), High Speed Final-12 (max 5frames/sec, 3M pixels or lower)
* Long-period (max 0.5 frames/sec)


Auto focus (Area, Multi, Center) / Continuous AF, AF assist illuminator available
White balance

Automatic scene recognition, Preset (Fine, Shade, Fluorescent light (Daylight), Fluorescent light (Warm White), Fluorescent light (Cool White), Incandescent light), Custom

Approx. 10sec. / 2sec. delay

Auto flash

Effective range: (ISO AUTO)

* Wide Angle: approx. 0.6m - 4.4m / 2.0ft - 14.4ft
* Telephoto: approx. 0.6m - 2.4m / 2.0ft - 7.9ft
* Macro: approx. 0.3m - 0.8m / 1.0ft - 2.6ft

Flash mode

* Red-eye removal OFF: Auto, Forced Flash, Suppressed Flash, Slow Synchro.
* Red-eye removal ON: Red-eye Reduction Auto, Red-eye Reduction & Forced Flash, Suppressed Flash, Red-eye Reduction & Slow Synchro.

LCD monitor

2.7-inch, approx. 230,000 pixels, Amorphous silicon TFT color LCD monitor, approx. 100% coverage
Movie recording

640x480 pixels. 320x240 pixels, 25 frames/sec. with monaural sound

* Zoom function cannot be used during movie recording.
Photography functions

Face Detection (with Red-eye removal), Performance, Best framing, Frame No. memory
IR Communication

IrSimple™ / IrSS™
Playback functions

Face Detection (with Red-eye removal), Slide show, Trimming, Single frame, Multi-frame playback including Micro Thumbnail mode, Sorting by date, Image rotate, Voice Memo
Video output

NTSC / PAL selectable
Digital interface

USB High-speed
Power supply

NP-50 Li-ion battery (included) / CP-50 with AC power adapter AC-5VX (sold separately)

92.5(W)x59.2(H)x22.9(D) mm / 3.6(W)x2.3(H)x0.9(D) in. (excluding accessories and attachments)

Approx. 155g/5.4oz. (excluding accessories, batteries and memory card)

RE: Circuit City
By rushfan2006 on 12/21/2007 1:52:46 PM , Rating: 2
Apparently you have lost YOUR mind if you don't have a standard that says sales people should know the products they are selling.

Of course no one expects them to know everything about every product - but yes I'm sorry if you are hired as a sales person the BARE MINIMUM of your product knowledge should be at least the main features and differences between all the products in your area/department. So if you are sales for home entertainment you are damn right you better know the picture quality and resolution differences from a plasma TV to a LED tv, or the sound quality of THX over DTS, etc. BUT at the same time I would NOT expect you to know anything about the home appliance department.

RE: Circuit City
By therealnickdanger on 12/21/2007 3:05:01 PM , Rating: 2
sound quality of THX over DTS

THX isn't an audio format.

RE: Circuit City
By Zelvek on 12/21/2007 3:46:38 PM , Rating: 2
I'm not saying that they shouldnt be aware of anything at all. By all means they should know what the different standards and technologies are. But the op had implied that sales ppl should know every little detail. They shoulnt have to memorize all the specs but rather what those specs mean is what im getting at.

RE: Circuit City
By Fritzr on 12/22/2007 5:07:11 AM , Rating: 2
Add compatibility of components to the basic knowledge the salespeople need.

It was a Sears salesman back in the late 80s that offered my Dad a "system" made up of various parts that had been remaindered. Dad asked me to look at the system since it was a good price. The keyboard used the large DIN connector, the socket was PS-2 mini-DIN no adapter included, several other pieces had similar mismatches. You'd think that the salesman who threw together this system would at least have made sure everything worked together before trying to sell it.

At the same store while looking at the C-64 computer they had on display I typed in a simple program that demoed the basic capabilities and asked to be adopted. The salesman was amazed ... I saved it to disk and then had to teach them how to load and run a program on the computer they were supposedly able to tell customers about.

My experience with Best Buy, Circuit City, Office Depot, CompUSA has been similar over the years. I have found salespeople at all these stores who do take the time to learn how to use the equipment they are selling, but most are lost once you get past asking questions that can be answered by reading the box. When I have a serious question about technical info I will go to one of the Mom&Pop stores owned and operated by geeks. At these stores I rarely find sales clerks who don't know a great deal of esoteric info about the pieces and parts they sell. When I do, they are usually standing by listening to the answer from the more experienced tech they pulled out of hiding :)

RE: Circuit City
By thornburg on 12/21/2007 8:56:22 AM , Rating: 2
Funny, I've been thinking Circuit City has been struggling ever since it fired all of its top paid sales people and hired new ones with no experience...

(Gee, if pay is based on experience and performance, and you pink slip all your top paid sales people, who did you KEEP? Oh yeah, the morons who stand around picking their nose not selling anything--way to make a profit!)

I know quite a number of people who have boycotted Circuit City ever since they did that. (What was it, a year ago?)

RE: Circuit City
By thornburg on 12/21/2007 8:58:16 AM , Rating: 2
Incidentally, how much better do you think CC would be doing if instead of that genius policy of firing the top paid people at each store, they had fired all the top paid people in the corporate offices?

RE: Circuit City
By JarvisTheGray on 12/21/2007 9:29:48 AM , Rating: 2
Well those top paid corporate office people probably hold board positions and are the "fire-ers" not the "fire-ees". But good point nonetheless.

CompUSA deserves it
By EntreHoras on 12/20/2007 4:11:54 PM , Rating: 4
The other day, I went to CompUSA to buy a small Ethernet cable. As they were closing, it should be cheap, I thought. Well, the cheaper (3 ft.) was $14. As I has in a hurry, I paid. Two days later, in Home Depot (Home Depot!!!!) I found a similar cat 5e 3 ft cable in $4.

RE: CompUSA deserves it
By Oregonian2 on 12/20/2007 5:12:51 PM , Rating: 2
Or they're $1.05 at pchcables ( ) although shipping would get you if that was the only item (I could get it for that at will-call pickup). Still would be under $14 though.

RE: CompUSA deserves it
By poothedrew on 12/20/2007 5:21:46 PM , Rating: 2
I REAL geek would make his own. ;)

RE: CompUSA deserves it
By EntreHoras on 12/21/2007 9:12:18 AM , Rating: 2
Well, I suppose I'm a para-geek.

RE: CompUSA deserves it
By HaZaRd2K6 on 12/22/2007 10:47:08 PM , Rating: 2
Wow. Something's ridiculous about that number. We've got 50' Belkin Cat6 cables at work for about CDN$12. Either the prices in the States are WAY too high, or we're getting counterfeit cables (which I know we aren't :P)

and a few years ago...
By Souka on 12/20/2007 3:17:53 PM , Rating: 2
the headline read something like "Future Shop fades away and competitors like CompUSA and Circuit City shine"

Never ending cycle of tech businesses appearing, dominating, then fading away....

RE: and a few years ago...
By Zelvek on 12/20/2007 3:24:55 PM , Rating: 2
that doesn't make much sense seeing as how future shops only competition in Canada was/is Best Buy(itself) and The Source (which was an independent chain of radio shacks at the time).

RE: and a few years ago...
By therealnickdanger on 12/20/2007 3:27:55 PM , Rating: 2
Yeah... but that's in Canada... so it really doesn't matter.


RE: and a few years ago...
By Souka on 12/20/2007 4:54:03 PM , Rating: 2

RE: and a few years ago...
By Oregonian2 on 12/20/2007 5:06:24 PM , Rating: 2
Yeah... that's where a dollar is really worth something!


BB & FS both suck
By EnderJ on 12/21/2007 4:19:35 AM , Rating: 2
The only time I ever go to Best Buy or Future Shop (which both technically are the same store, they just offer different brands, check out car audio for an example) is when I'm looking to buy a PC Game.

Otherwise I generally order online or at B&M stores that specialize in their target area.

Their prices are higher then I can get it for else where, and their staff is useless.

The last time I was in a FS I got into an argument with one of their sales rep's who I had overheard telling another customer that Toms Hardware was "The Site" to goto when looking for reviews on PC Hardware, and how all the other staff, and even his "friends" swear by that site as being the best. This of course was after I had heard him say this, and I shook my head sadly and sighed which prompted the other customer to ask me why I disagreed.

In the end after he started spouting off the "number of years of PC building experience" he had, I grabbed the game I was looking for, and cracked off about how impressed I was with is level of expertise in the computer related industry and wished my skill could get me a job at FS as well, but alas I guess I was stuck being the IT manager for a Medium sized company instead, then walked away.

RE: BB & FS both suck
By JarvisTheGray on 12/21/2007 9:21:50 AM , Rating: 2
Ouch, low blow man, low blow.

RE: BB & FS both suck
By Taft12 on 12/21/2007 12:33:42 PM , Rating: 2
Could you possibly be more of an arrogant jerk?

At least the staff is interested enough in their job to check out PC enthusiast sites in their spare time and try to share that with potentially interested customers. I'm glad your lofty job title allows you to point out to people how much better you are than them.

RE: BB & FS both suck
By EnderJ on 12/23/2007 2:27:13 AM , Rating: 2
I guess you missed the part where I mentioned that he started throwing around "how many years he's been building pcs"?

He was the one who started the whole "I'm better then you" side of the argument, when he couldn't sway me on the reputation of Toms.

Tom's was an alright site years ago, however it's lost it's rep along the way.

The fact is, if someone doesn't want to get put in their place, then they shouldn't try and make the other person seem less credible as a means of winning the trust of another customer who initiated the discussion in the first place.

Call me an arrogant jerk all you want, but I won't have some punk working at Future Shop stomp all over my experience in an attempt to sell someone the most expensive laptop in the store.

By DigitalFreak on 12/20/2007 9:30:00 PM , Rating: 2
Was just playing the Burnout Paradise demo on the 360 today and saw one of the in-game ads for Compusa. Got a nice chuckle out of that.

By Stark1 on 12/21/2007 2:59:10 AM , Rating: 2
Anytime I walked into a Best Buy or CompUSA, I was disappointed by their selection and prices. I would see good deals online for Best Buy though from time to time.

2007 Q3?
By isorfir on 12/20/2007 4:37:27 PM , Rating: 2
fiscal 2008 Q3 earnings report

Not that anyone cares, or should, but I think the link states the wrong year. It should be 2007 Q3. Either that, or I'm in for a rather unfortunate surprise.

RE: 2007 Q3?
By TomZ on 12/20/07, Rating: -1
RE: 2007 Q3?
By HighWing on 12/23/07, Rating: 0
RE: 2007 Q3?
By Richlet on 12/24/2007 10:08:46 PM , Rating: 2
definitely correct. I can't believe they even wrote a second article quoting THIS one as fiscal 2008

CompUSA is gone..... MEH!
By UsernameX on 12/21/2007 12:08:54 PM , Rating: 2
I put in half a decade with that company and got nothing in return. I didn't necessarily work "hard" but I did do my job well, and was highly trusted to do anything in the company. I had keys to laptops, plasma TV's, and CPU's... basically anything expensive. Never once did I take advantage of that company and they deserved to be. They would give me my annual 10 cent raise, even though I would fight for a larger raise. I know it's my fault for wasting so much time with that company. But at the same time they don't need to disrespect their trusted employees with 10 cent raises and the usual "...yah... I'm going to have to have you come in on Saturday." type of office space mentality.

Ahh well. They got what they deserved. I met some cool people along the way, and gained a decent job @ Comcast (which btw is an excellent employer to work for) with that experience. So it's paid off in certain respects. Cya Comp

A Quick Rant.
By marsbound2024 on 12/23/2007 3:36:54 PM , Rating: 2
Yeah I work at Best Buy at the Geek Squad and I have to try and ignore how we offer such expensive services. $29 for a software install is just plain ridiculous. $39 for a hardware install is also ridiculous. Sometimes the install costs more than the actual hardware or software. Then of course to remove viruses it is $199. Yowch.

Sadly, two agents out of the nine or so at the squad, pretty much only know how to use the standard tools and know only enough about computers to be considered beyond beginner but not quite intermediate. So in the end, I try to help customers out any way I can. If they have security software, I'll tell them to restart and hit F8 and run scans and hope for the best so they aren't stuck with the only option of paying $199 or $129 for an OS reload. I also urge customers to back up their own data. It saves headaches. But those who refuse it I have little to no sympathy for and gladly say that they owe $99 for up to 9.4GB and $159 for unlimited. Their own fault for not listening to someone trying to help them.

Overall, I'd say I know a pretty good amount about cameras, consoles, computers (hardware and software), televisions and surround systems and a few other things, but I don't know everything about everything. It is frustrating when a customer expects me to know every answer to every question. I am not the God of Tech. I am sorry I cannot answer your question about why your cell phone randomly shuts off. Maybe it's your battery, maybe it's your SIM card. I have no idea. Ask someone in Wireless who works there for a reason. I also apologize for not being able to tell you what you can do with your Windows 98 machine you are trying to put Linux on and use as a server. I mean maybe use it as a small NAS or other type of file-sharing server... but I don't understand what you mean by wanting to use it as a firewall. Your router has a firewall.

So yes, there are some things that maybe I should know being in the Geek Squad, but I am only 19 and gladly admit that I am not a super nerd yet or have had enough experience to answer some of these more advanced questions. I am only getting paid around $10 an hour and Best Buy is making these outrageous margins on the services that I SELL. I should make commission. I can sell one moderately expensive service and pay my wages for the day. $99 data backup... Alright! That's it, I'm going home for the day... I wish.

Overall the Geek Squad is in need of some serious improvement. BB needs to weed out some of the less helpful agents and start training computer techs as salesmen and not vice versa.

That is perhaps my biggest gripe... the department I work in. I would rather work as someone in the IT field eventually, but currently with so many bad things occurring in my life, that must be delayed. But I do know I'd feel much better working as an IT Assistant or something than telling hard working fellow Americans that their limited funds must go towards repairing their diseased eMachines or Gateway or whatever model of computer they have. Yes indeed, you could possibly almost buy a new computer for what it'd cost to repair your old one ($299 to remove viruses, run a diagnostic on all of your hardware to ensure it isn't in danger of failing and then install preventive software, a $159 data backup to save all of your important information... oops, your 250GB HDD went out... that's going to be $114.99 plus a $39 install... and you want to use this for gaming, then you need two gigs of RAM for Vista and you have one gig so that is another $64.99 with a $39 install and you also need a video card... if you are wanting to play Crysis as you say, I'd recommend this 8800GT which is say... maybe $250 with a $39 install...)

Whewwwwww weeee. The money just keeps piling on.

I've Never Been Impressed With BB
By wempa on 12/24/2007 12:39:27 PM , Rating: 2
Besides having pretty neat store layouts, BB doesn't have anything special to offer. For the most part, their prices on the bigger items are mediocre. Their prices on any accessories are always lousy. Sure, I'm going to pay $30 for a USB cable and $100 for a surge protector. I also find it very irritating that their sales people try to push all sorts of accessories and extended warranties. I'll start buying more from BB when they start actually competing with online prices. I'm not saying they have to match the online price, but they don't even make an attempt to be competitive with the online stores.

"A lot of people pay zero for the cellphone ... That's what it's worth." -- Apple Chief Operating Officer Timothy Cook
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