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Best Buy To Furlough 51,000 Hourly Store Employees; Executives Take Pay Cuts

Best Buy Co. Inc. (BBY) will furlough about 51,000 hourly store employees in the U.S. While the stores have been closed to foot traffic, they are still open for curbside pickup.

However, the furloughed employees will retain their health benefits at no cost to them for a minimum of three months.

The company said it will retain about 82% of its full-time store and field employees on its payroll, including the vast majority of In-Home Advisors and Geek Squad Agents.

The company said some of its corporate employees will participate in voluntary reduced work weeks and resulting pay, as well as voluntary furloughs.

Meanwhile, Best Buy's chief executive officer Corie Barry will forego 50% of her base salary and the members of the Board of Directors will forego 50% of their cash retainer fees through at least September 1, 2020.

The company executives reporting directly to the chief executive officer will take a 20% reduction in base salary through at least September 1, 2020.

Best Buy has partnered with its founder, Dick Schulze, to establish a $10 million employee assistance fund, available to all part- and full-time hourly employees who have been with the company longer than one year.

The company said it has retained approximately 70% of its sales compared to last year since moving to enhanced curbside service model despite the fact that all Domestic stores are closed to customer traffic and approximately 40 of them, particularly in the Northeast, have been completely closed to all business for at least 10 days at discretion.

The company's sales for the 9-week period ended April 4, 2020, declined about 5% on a year-over-year basis.

The company's quarter-to-date sales through March 20, 2020, grew approximately 4% and were ahead of original expectations.

In the eight-day period ended March 20, 2020, sales grew approximately 25% as the company experienced a surge in demand across products that people need to work or learn from home, as well as those products that allow people to freeze food.

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