Over the past seven years, Best Buy has become an example of how big-box retailers with large physical footprints can remain relevant in the age of Amazon.
That transformation was overseen by CEO Hubert Joly, who announced Monday that he is stepping down as CEO after joining Best Buy in 2012. Corie Barry, formerly Best Buy’s chief financial officer, will take over as CEO effective June 11.
During Joly’s time as CEO, he laid out a blueprint for staying competitive as the retail industry changed. He led Best Buy through two multiyear strategic plans, Renew Blue and Best Buy 2020, that emphasized using its stores as a vehicle for differentiated customer service as well as fulfillment centers, and building a closer relationship with brands.
The strategy resulted in a sales lift. When Joly took over Best Buy, the company’s comparable same-store sales had declined for nearly two years, and the company couldn’t figure out how to fend off Amazon from taking a huge bite out of its sales. Under Joly’s tenure, comparable same-store sales have risen for the past five years. Last quarter, Best Buy reported revenue of $14.8 billion and net income of $735 million.
“I wouldn’t declare complete victory because they’re in a pretty competitive category, but the turnaround has been pretty successful,” said Steve Dennis, analyst at SageBerry Consulting. “They didn’t just go about cutting costs and closing stores — they really thought about what are stores really good at, in concert to what digital and the internet is good for.”
“Hubert started literally at a time when the outlook was dim, and so what I appreciated about him was his customer focus,” said Michele Azar, Best Buy’s former vp of e-commerce, multichannel fulfillment and growth, who left the company in 2017. “His focus and sense of team spirit really unified the company at a time when we needed focus.”