With more than 1,000 big-box stores in North America and about 125,000 employees, Best Buy was supposed to have succumbed to the inevitable. “Everyone thought we were going to die,” says Hubert Joly.
Instead, Best Buy has become an improbable survivor led by an unlikely boss.
He had no retail experience—Best Buy’s stock fell 10 percent the day he was named CEO—but Joly understands how to value, and capture, customers’ time. Comparable sales rose 5.6 percent last year and 9 percent during the Christmas season, the biggest holiday gain since 2003. The stock price has quadrupled. Even Amazon CEO Jeff Bezos is impressed. “The last five years, since Hubert came to Best Buy, have been remarkable,” he said at an appearance in April.
Not many people thought Best Buy could have pulled themselves out of the mess they were in ten years ago. They are not completely out of the woods but their success up to this point is remarkable.