Newsmakers

Best Buy CEO Hubert Joly: Price-matching Means ‘Price Is Off the Table’

Newsmakers

It may be the most wonderful time of the year, but this holiday season it is an all-out war for business as retailers offer their most competitive prices on electronics in years.

“It’s like a civil war for electronics,” said Mark Ellwood, author of “How to Shop in a Discounted World.” “It’s bloody brutal and they’re going to be a lot of casualties.”

The reason behind the cut-throat competition: This year’s holiday shopping season is 26 days long, down from 32 in 2012.

Retailers are trying to lure customers into their stores first by offering ridiculously low prices on flat-screen TVs, hoping buyers leave with much more.

Best Buy CEO Hubert Joly told ABC News that his store was offering students a free year of Sprint service with the purchase of a smartphone.

“We’re price competitive and our strategy is to be price competitive,” he said. “What’s happening? It’s almost Black Friday every day.”

According to Nielsen, the average family has three TVs. Walmart has ordered 65 percent more televisions and twice as many tablets for Black Friday as in 2012 and it plans to slash prices. One flat-screen TV is being sold for $98 while an iPad mini comes with a $100 gift card.

But Joly believes this is a very unusual holiday season because “everybody is price-matching everybody else, so as a result, price is no longer an issue. We’ve taken price off the table.”

He said Best Buy is focusing on the customer: “In retail, this is how you win.”

“We’re passionate about the consumer,” Joly said. “Best Buy is back. A year ago people were talking about Best Buy was not in great shape. We think we have a unique customer experience to offer that’s very relevant today.”

The electronics retail giant has invested in stores with product experts from key vendors and Joly said they are offering “the biggest [product] assortment we’ve ever had.”

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