Let’s face it, the future of big box retailers is questionable at best if they keep to the status quo. As a society, we are shifting how we shop. We browse bookshops, then buy online. We research automobiles, then show up at a dealership to test-drive and sign contracts. And as for big box electronic stores, the only real use I see for them is as a showroom for the latest products, or to talk live with an “expert”—if you can find one. The showrooming trend is here to stay, thanks to the Internet, enterprising e-commerce companies, and mobile technology and adoption.
Apple figured this new trend out before it launched its retail chain, but companies like Best Buy need to deal with the legacy issues, and fear of change. As a public company, and one that relies heavily on its retail presence, I, along with many, have questioned their future prospects.
And, apparently, another person who is questioning Best Buy’s prospects is its founder and (former) Chairman of the board.
And we think that’s good news for the big-box retailer.
According to The Wall Street Journal founder Richard Schulze is working with Wall Street investment bank Credit Suisse to take the struggling consumer electronics giant private.
Schulze, who owns 20% of the company appears highly interested in orchestrating a turnaround strategy, but only if they remove the shackles of being a public company and its demand for GROWTH GROWTH GROWTH every quarter. We’re not sure what Schulze has in mind for a private, and re-directed Best Buy, but we’re thinking it has got to be better than a strategy of closing stores and laying off employees as a single-point plan. I would suspect that Schulze has every reason to believe in the company that he created decades ago, and if he can go back to some of the fundamentals of what made the company great in the first place, and apply lessons learned to the new reality of how customers want to browse and buy, he might just have a shot.
Whether the company goes with a buyout, or stays a public company, we wish them the best, and hope they pivot soon.