Consumer electronics chain Best Buy announced Tuesday that it will close all of its Mexican stores, saying that the coronavirus pandemic has had a “profound” negative impact on the company.
The chain shut down eight of its stores earlier this year and will begin closing its remaining 41 on December 31. Best Buy México president Fernando Silva announced the decision in a call with investors.
“The effects of the pandemic have been very profound and it’s not viable for us to maintain our business in Mexico,” he said.
Silva praised the company’s employees and said they will be given severance pay and benefits beyond what is required by the law.
“We should feel very proud about what we achieved at Best Buy México: we built an extraordinary team and we established an exceptional culture,” he said.
“We transformed the way in which Mexicans interact with and are inspired by technology. … We built the No. 1 brand in technology … [and] our customers honored us with a growing market share. I don’t have anything left [to say] other than to thank with all my heart the workers and commercial partners who were part of this adventure during almost 13 years.”
The successes in the Mexican market outlined by Silva were evidently insufficient to keep Best Buy here. It apparently took a big financial hit from having to close temporarily its brick-and-mortar stores due to the pandemic even though its online store remained open and demand for electronics increased as people made the shift to working and studying at home.
The company said in a statement that it will deliver all orders that have already been placed, adding that the Best Buy México website will continue to operate until all existing stock is sold.
Best Buy’s decision to close its stores comes after a successful 2019, during which the company opened several new locations. Just a year and a half ago, Silva said that online sales were on the rise and that the company was “very committed to Mexico.”
The coronavirus pandemic and associated restrictions have taken a heavy toll on the economy, with GDP slumping almost 20% in the second quarter of the year compared to the same period of 2019 and close to 9% in the third.
Source: El Financiero (sp)