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Posted on Thu, Mar 29, 2012 : 10:48 a.m.

Best Buy to close 50 big-box stores: Lohr Road store's fate unclear

By Lizzy Alfs

Minnesota-based Best Buy announced plans Thursday to close 50 big-box stores and open 100 stand-alone, mobile locations in the U.S. in fiscal 2013.

The strategy -- to reduce total square footage while adding small store locations -- comes after the company reported a fourth quarter loss of $1.7 billion.

Best Buy, which has about 1,145 U.S. stores, has one location in Washtenaw County, located on Lohr Road in Pittsfield Township. It was not immediately clear whether that store would close.

The company has not released a list detailing which stores will be shuttered.


This photo shows a Best Buy Mobile store in Minnesota.

Photo courtesy of Flickr user DavidErickson

Best Buy also recently signed a lease to open a 1,456-square-foot Best Buy Mobile location in Briarwood Mall in Ann Arbor.

The mobile store concept, launched in 2007, is much smaller than the company’s big-box stores and acts as a full-service wireless retailer, carrying the same mobile products as the larger stores. There are currently 305 mobile locations, with plans to open 600 to 800 by fiscal 2016. As part of this “transformation strategy,” the company also announced plans to grow its domestic online revenue by 15 percent in fiscal 2013.

The plans are expected to cut $250 million in costs in fiscal 2013 and $800 million by fiscal 2015.

“We intend to invest some of these cost savings into offering new and improved customer experiences and competitive prices - which will help drive revenue,” said Brian J. Dunn, Best Buy CEO, in a news release.

He added: “At the same time, we will continue to accelerate our key initiatives - growing connections and services, expanding our digital capabilities and growing our business in China.”

Lizzy Alfs is a business reporter for Reach her at 734-623-2584 or email her at Follow her on Twitter at



Fri, Mar 30, 2012 : 12:32 p.m.

Uh oh....this concept sounds like when Borders closed a bunch of stores and opened up "Borders Express" locations in'd that work out?


Fri, Mar 30, 2012 : 11:39 a.m.

Well you go to ABC Warehouse and they are so pushy! Guess they are paid on commission. No browsing there! Go to Best Buy and no one to help you out. Guess I will stick with Amazon. Sorry but it is getting so there is no help. Try going to J C Penney's, Sears, KMart, etc. No one on the floor and some are so empty I am amazed how they stay open.


Fri, Mar 30, 2012 : 11:28 a.m.

I spent $2,500 on a home theater for my new house this year. I bought everything (TV, receiver, speakers) online. B&M stores are doomed.


Fri, Mar 30, 2012 : 10:44 a.m.

If they close best buy, it would be inconvenient because you would then have to type a-m-a-z-o-n on you keyboard, click your mouse and have a guy show up at your door 2 days later with your product. It's much better to get in your car put in $4/gallon gas and drive to a place where the sales people know only as much as what's on the sticker, buy the higher priced product, stand in line get back in your gas guzzling car, deal with a few road rages and your back safe and sound in your house (with a heart rate of 120). That's so much better! :-)


Fri, Mar 30, 2012 : 4:02 p.m.

Some items I could see shopping online. But heavy appliances such as refrigerators, stoves, dishwashers, etc. I'd rather go to the Best Buy or retailer and check them out. Is that way of shopping obsolete?


Fri, Mar 30, 2012 : 3:07 a.m.

Big Georges is locally owned---we should be supporting them anyway.

Ricardo Queso

Fri, Mar 30, 2012 : 1:35 p.m.

Overpriced, poor selection, pushy sales people. No thanks.


Fri, Mar 30, 2012 : 1:42 a.m.

I think Best Buy is over the hill andwon't be around in five years. The business model is becoming obsolete.


Fri, Mar 30, 2012 : 1:57 a.m.

You're absolutely right, Tim. The lower end stuff is available at Target/Wal-Mart, and the nicer stuff will always be the domain of specialty retailers... And internet warehouses pick up the rest. The irony is that Best Buy created the business model, ran their smaller competition out of business, and are now getting hammered by internet retailers.


Fri, Mar 30, 2012 : 12:35 a.m.

I don't see them closing the Lohr Road store, since it is the only Best Buy in Washtenaw County.


Fri, Mar 30, 2012 : 12:27 a.m.

The Ann Arbor store has always been on the high end of profitability for the Best Buy chain. It is highly unlikely with only 50 stores closing NATIONWIDE that this store is on the block. The are a lot of stores that do not perform as well. When Borders was closing, believe me the Liberty street store was NOT on the block until all was lost.


Thu, Mar 29, 2012 : 6:34 p.m.

I doubt very much that Best Buy would close one of their flagship stores, especially when it serves such a wide area, and one that features a steady stream of transient residents who represent the core electronics and gadget buying demographic. The store on Lohr will not be closed any time soon.


Fri, Mar 30, 2012 : 1:54 p.m.

Oh yeah? Why are then opening this new store a mile away....just across 94 from the other one??


Fri, Mar 30, 2012 : 1:59 a.m.

Perhaps, but the difference between a daily newspaper and the Ann Arbor Best Buy is that one of them is still profitable to operate. As a whole, the chain may be losing money, but I'll bet the Lohr Rd store is still in the black.

Macabre Sunset

Thu, Mar 29, 2012 : 6:50 p.m.

Funny, they said the same thing about daily newspapers and the University community. The fact is, when you are in this core demographic, you're more likely to see the advantages of purchasing this type of product online.


Thu, Mar 29, 2012 : 6:09 p.m.

What about the people who don't shop online and want to talk with someone? Not everyone is buying local products. I would like to buy something other than local products and still get a good deal!

N. Todd

Thu, Mar 29, 2012 : 8:13 p.m.

@SMC - Do you mean that you don't find it helpful when you ask an employee a question and their response is to simply read the item description/price tag to look for the answer? It was aggravating that ten minutes of online research prior to purchasing something would yield more knowledge of the item than the sales staff could offer. However, there is an excellent camera guy at the Brighton location. (Don't remember the name though)


Thu, Mar 29, 2012 : 6:29 p.m.

If you want to talk to someone who has more than the most basic knowledge about what you want to purchase, Best Buy isn't the store for you.


Thu, Mar 29, 2012 : 6:08 p.m.

No No No! If we close Best Buy - the closest one would be in Canton/Westland!


Fri, Mar 30, 2012 : 1:53 p.m.

Did you not see they are opening one basically across 94 in Briarwood?


Thu, Mar 29, 2012 : 8:05 p.m.

i would think with the uofm in town they would stay. canton and other will go first.


Thu, Mar 29, 2012 : 6 p.m.

Best Buy is making a move before they become the next Borders. Everyone complained that Borders didn't stay afloat because it was browse at Borders, buy on Amazon. Now that Best Buy wants to be ahead of the curve, the same people are here complaining. The same thing that happened with Borders is the same thing that is happening with Best Buy. Why pay for so much real estate and employ staff to be a showroom for Amazon. These same hypocrites are here complaining because they are loosing their Amazon showroom.


Thu, Mar 29, 2012 : 10:34 p.m.

That was said very well. But do you think the right people understood what you were saying? Some people just don't get it. And then they wonder why our economy is in the toilet.


Thu, Mar 29, 2012 : 6:02 p.m.

I meant 'losing' in the last sentence.


Thu, Mar 29, 2012 : 5:36 p.m.

This is good news for smaller, local companies trying to compete with Best Buy. I always shop at Huron Camera in Dexter. Although Best Buy has cheaper prices, their sales reps are pretty ignorant to specific tech questions. In addition, it just feels good to know that your money is supporting a local store. Maybe if Best Buy closes, another local specialty camera, computer, and electronics store can open in Ann Arbor.


Thu, Mar 29, 2012 : 5:19 p.m.

Stopped going to Best buy years ago. When I could get no help. Walked into back of store to the TV dept and 5 employees walked right by me and never said a word. They all looked to busy to help me. Told manager on way out and have not been back.


Fri, Mar 30, 2012 : 11 a.m.

I have found the exact opposite to be true, I'm always offered assistance by several very helpful sales staff.


Thu, Mar 29, 2012 : 8:43 p.m.

Did you ever stop to think that they really were too busy to help you? Retail can be chaotic.


Thu, Mar 29, 2012 : 5:09 p.m.

They are certainly in a good location with a large population center very close by. I don't think it would be in their interest to shutter the store on Lohr. Although, it woudl be good to point out that it is a lot easier getting many items that BestBuy has online. Especially when it comes to electronics accessories. BB is horrendous with prices for cords (especially HDMI).

Marvin Face

Thu, Mar 29, 2012 : 5 p.m.

I like BUYING at Big Georges but hate SHOPPING there. The salespeople are very pushy. I research online and browse Best Buy before ultimately going to Big Georges where I can bargain them down. Ever since they got out of the camera business, I only go in there when buying the big stuff like appliances and big screens. I go to Best Buy whenever I need a new laptop, external hard drive, phone upgrade, etc when waiting for shipping isn't an option. Otherwise, like others, all my electronics shopping is now done online.


Sat, Mar 31, 2012 : 9:58 a.m.

Agreed . BGeorge is very good at bargaining with you. I buy most all of my appliances there.


Thu, Mar 29, 2012 : 4:33 p.m.

Why isn't Obama saving them with a bailout. Americans are losing their jobs! The moral of the story is the government should not pick winners and losers.


Fri, Mar 30, 2012 : 12:21 p.m.

johnny As of February 2012 General Motors has only paid back Uncle Sam $26-billion of the $49.5-billion in bailout money they received. They also accumulated $13-billion in stock losses and reported record profits of $7.6-billion in 2011. This means that for every $1 of profit, the U.S. government paid $4. Taxpayers also spent another $27-billion to buy General Motors stock and currently own about 30% of the company in stock. 47,500 blue-collar workers will be receiving profit sharing checks of up to $7,000 Read more


Fri, Mar 30, 2012 : 12:31 a.m.

Where in the article does it say the government is going to bail them out?


Fri, Mar 30, 2012 : 12:24 a.m.

Eagleman, So people who work for the auto industry and the auto industry itself does not pay taxes? Wow, that is a new one. I missed that part of the bailout. ANY form of government money is picking a winner and loser. Every contract they sign (even road construction contracts) are picking which firm will grow and which one won't. How many of you even know the JOB of the FAA is not just to protect US flyers but to PROMOTE the industry worldwide. Same with the USDA. The fact is the US auto industry was in a crisis due to a situation that was not their own making. Att he time there was no loans to be had. If the entire banking system had not collapsed due to poor regulaiton, there would have been no need for a bailout. The fact that both Chrysler,. and GM have paid back loans AND BILLIONS in tax dollars continue to be collected from employees and from the actual company tells me the government will come out just fine. The same as they did for the bank bailouts. Oh, and I am wondering how many are willing to stop subsidies to the airlines and pay the REAL cost of flying. Subsidies for the roads they drive on and pay the REAL cost of driving on them. The flat tax is a stupid idea proposed by those who take from society and do not want to give back. If they do not want to be part of society, LEAVE. We wont miss you. Go to Saudi Arabia where there is no income tax and crime is super low. These are people who have no interest in freedom, only MONEY


Thu, Mar 29, 2012 : 8:41 p.m.

johnnya2, his point is that propping up businesses that are clearly failing because of poor business practices is not a good thing. He is right. Chrysler has been failed out twice in 30 years. Twice they have received corporate welfare from Democratic presidents. Something tells me that they will fail again. I do agree that government(e.g: business) investment in infrastructure makes sense. Do remember that the funds you speak of are NOT generated by government, but by businesses who pay taxes and hire employees who pay the taxes that enable the government to build roads, maintain parks, protect the environment, etc.


Thu, Mar 29, 2012 : 7:55 p.m.

Yeah, that $700 billion dollar stimulus that Obama gets beat up on all the time, despite the fact that GWB started it, is actually going to cost the government just $32 billion -- worst case. If either AIG or GM stock goes up in value before the government decides to sell it, the number goes down. In reality, the government could make a profit on the stimulus if it's willing to hold the AIG and GM stock as other investors do until it's profitable enough to sell. What a concept. Let alone that it saved the US from a second depression, millions of lost jobs and homes, higher unemployment, lost taxes, the collapse of the US manufacturing sector, just to name a few things.


Thu, Mar 29, 2012 : 7:46 p.m.

I AGREE!!! A flat tax. You make dollar you pay .10. You make a million you pay $100,000. What could be more fair Why should other american subsidize you for the choices you make. I wonder if Obama would bail out Walmarts if they were going under. Over a million american depend on them. Walmart is the largest employer of US workers in the united states.


Thu, Mar 29, 2012 : 4:55 p.m.

OK, then let's end tax subsidies to parents since that is picking a CHOICE to have children. They also must stop all mortgage tax deductions, since that is again a CHOICE you made, It artificially supports the housing and mortgage industry. All health care deductions will need to end as well, since that is picking an industry that gets advantages that others do not. The government must also stop allowing educational expenses to be deducted since that is "picking a winner". They must also stop ALL contracts with private companies like General Dynamics and Boeing for military spending, since that IS picking a winner by its very definition. Roads must stop being built as well since homes and businesses near roads become more valuable. Your isolationist, Darwin philosophy of business is a proven failure. The governments success rate exceeds the success of Bain Capital (Mitt Romneys old boy network)


Thu, Mar 29, 2012 : 4:32 p.m.

I buy just about everything now on the internet. Prices are better and haven't had a problem with returns. No parking problems and Amazon Prime has free shipping. I know some will say I should support my local retailers, but times change and with everything costing so much I need to get the most for my money.


Thu, Mar 29, 2012 : 4:27 p.m.

I love shopping at Big George's, and I'd buy everything from them if they had better financing options...Best Buy usually offers 18 months no interest, Sears (who I totally LOATHE, but grudgingly shop at because of good financing) usually has 12-15 months no-interest on larger purchases. I've only seen 6 month financing at BGeorge's and with their higher-end products it makes it difficult to budget.


Fri, Mar 30, 2012 : 1:39 p.m.

Financing at 0 percent makes sense, just don't miss any payments. Free money is good. But, if you have to take out a loan to buy a home electronic device???


Fri, Mar 30, 2012 : 11:11 a.m.

Consider saving your money and only purchasing when you have the money. Financing is a bad deal.


Thu, Mar 29, 2012 : 4:11 p.m.

While I have no research to back it up, electronics are throw away items nowadays. You buy something realizing it is only goin to last 5-10 years before it needs to be replaced. As a result, I don't think many people are purchasing "store" warranties anymore, a place where they made a lot of money. Plus, you can buy electronics and appliance anywhere nowadays including places like Lowe's, Home Depot, Sears, Target, Bed Bath and Beyond, K-mart and Meijer's just to name a few. Oh, and that internet thingy has some things on it too.


Thu, Mar 29, 2012 : 4:34 p.m.

10 to 15 years is pushing it nowadays. My MAC guy told me the other day that the usable life of a MAC hard drive is about 3 years. And the average washer is now only good for about 7.


Thu, Mar 29, 2012 : 3:47 p.m.

50 stores closing of 1,145 stores = 4.36%. Look for closings in nearby MI counties where there are multiple stores, creating market saturation (single county, multiple stores). Also, disregard the new Briarwood store as an indication of Lohr-Road displacement. The Briarwood store strategically offers marketing presence in a strong shopping center. In other words, rest easy, as the Lohr Road store is safe (for now).


Thu, Mar 29, 2012 : 3:20 p.m.

Soon the only retailers at Briarwood will be phone stores. I have noticed that the selection of merchandise at the Lohr Rd Best Buy has decreased over the last couple of years. That could account for a decrease in sales at the store. As a loyal Best Buy customer I would be unhappy if they closed. I don't like doing business with either Big Georges or ABC Warehouse. I always feel pressured at either store. They won't just let you walk around and look at things. Well, I guess there are always on-line retailers to fall back on.,

4 Fingers

Fri, Mar 30, 2012 : 5:15 p.m.

....OR you can walk around Best Buy for hours and not get any help. I've experienced that a few times.

Jason Fox

Fri, Mar 30, 2012 : 12:52 p.m.

Wow, you get someone to talk to you at ABC Warehouse?! I stopped going in there because I always had to hunt someone down. I guess I looked like money wasn't falling out of my pocket. At least at Best Buy, someone would say "Hi" and asked if they could be of help.


Thu, Mar 29, 2012 : 8:45 p.m.

No need for smarty pants, SMC. I totally understand what Barzoom is talking about. You can walk around in Best Buy for hours just looking at stuff and the staff just casually ask if you need any help, and walk away when you say no. At George's and ABC you have a salesperson hovering over you and following you around the store.


Thu, Mar 29, 2012 : 6:26 p.m.

Yeah, I too hate shopping at places where the staff try to help you. How dare they try to service their customers.


Thu, Mar 29, 2012 : 3:04 p.m.

Could be good news for Big Georges and ABC Warehouse. Bad news for consumers.


Thu, Mar 29, 2012 : 3:02 p.m.

acts as a full-service wireless retailer, carrying the same mobile products as the larger stores Great another phone store!