Best Buy Plans to Focus More on Small Businesses
New York City, The VP of Best Buy Co. Inc.’s business division said that it plans to focus on small business customers as a source of growth. “We think that right now there doesn’t exist anyone that can be a single point of contact for small businesses to obtain—or to even be aware of— technology solutions that can improve their business,” Tom Healy said. Healy said Best Buy will use its so-called “Geek Squad agents” to sell technology to small businesses. Best Buy’s 12,000 “Geek Squad” employees offer technology assistance, such as making house calls, to help customers set up new computers. The retailer plans to hire roughly 600 new Geek employees this year.
Nationwide Chain Store Sales Slow in First Week of March
New York City, The Johnson Redbook Index said U.S. chain stores reported slow sales in the first week of March as heavy rain hindered shopping. Sales at major retailers were up 2.4% on a year-over-year basis for the week ended March 4, following a 3.0% rise in the prior week, the independent company said. Sales at U.S. retailers so far in March were down 2.5% when compared with the same period in February.
Consumer Spending Expected to Rise in March
Columbus, Ohio, Retail Forward’s Future Spending Index reported consumer spending should rise in March from last month. The overall index improved to 101.6, the highest level since September. Spending should be weaker than a year ago, however, because the latest index is a shade lower than in March 2005. “Underpinning the projected increase in sales this month are the lagging effects of the housing market boom and signs that debt loads have become less of a drag on ability to spend,” Retail Forward economist Steve Spiwak said. “The uneven job market recovery from last year’s post-hurricane disruption will continue to discourage spending among some shoppers as spring approaches, however.”