AUGUSTA — Best Buy will close 50 stores in the coming year, but has not yet said if the Augusta is among those shutting down.

The company announced Thursday it will close 50 of its 1,100 U.S. big-box stores specializing in electronics and technology. It only specified six that are slated to close, five of them in Minneapolis.

The company said it lost $1.7 billion in its fourth quarter, spurring the plan to close the stores.

A manager at the Augusta Best Buy on Friday said he could not comment and referred calls to corporate headquarters.

In addition to the Augusta store, which opened at the Augusta Crossing complex near Interstate 95 exit 109 on Western Avenue in 2007, Best Buy also has stores in Auburn, Topsham, Portland, Bangor and Biddeford, according to its website.

Best Buy has been the only big-box chain store specializing in electronics in Augusta since the Circuit City chain went out of business in 2009.

That gives Peter Thompson, executive director of the Kennebec Valley Chamber of Commerce, hope that Augusta’s Best Buy will remain open.

“I’m guessing it is a fairly productive store, as the sole major electronics store in the area,” Thompson said. “It was the winner when it came to the competition (with Circuit City). So, hopefully, it will remain as a viable business.”

The firm plans to close 50 big-box stores while opening 100 smaller “connected stores.” The company also plans to cut 400 employees from corporate and support positions. The company has some 180,000 employees.

In response to an email query, a Best Buy official whose name was not provided said the company will announce details about specific store locations and the timing of closings later.

“We are taking the necessary steps this next year to evolve our total retail store strategy,” the official said. The email said that the closing will “fuel growth initiatives” and “provide better service and product interactivity.”

“We are deliberate and thoughtful when we make such decisions,” the official said. “We are working to ensure the impact of these 50 store closures on the affected employees will be as minimal as possible, while serving all of our customers in a convenient and satisfying way.”

Keith Edwards — 621-5647

[email protected]


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