Customers came inside Best Buy in Goleta on Monday for the first time since the retailer closed its in-store shopping practices due to COVID-19 in March.
The store, which is at Camino Real Marketplace, was one of more than 800 Best Buy locations across the country that began allowing customers back into stores under coronavirus safety measures.
The company, which had changed its service to curbside pickup, announced on June 9 that it would allow customers back inside the stores.
Best Buy’s announcement came just weeks after the chain’s first-quarter earnings report came out in May. The report showed the company’s total net income dropped to $159 million, or 61 cents per share, from $265 million, or 98 cents per share, a year earlier.
“Throughout the pandemic, nothing has been more important to us than the safety of our customers and employees,” Best Buy President of Retail Ray Silva said in a statement. “We’re now confident we can provide a safe experience for shoppers who want to visit our stores to browse, see tech products firsthand and get helpful advice from our Blue Shirts or Geek Squad Agents.”
According to the company’s news release, in order to support this “expanded store experience,” Best Buy will be bringing back more than 9,000 furloughed full and part-time employees.
In addition, Best Buy will limit their stores to 25% capacity so they are able to maintain social distancing. Depending on a store’s size, this will allow for about 60 customers inside the store, and once a store hits maximum capacity, customers will be placed in a line outside the store.
Among some of the first customers back shopping Monday inside the Goleta location were self-described gamers Anthony Lopez and Anthony Richmond. The two said they were really “glad that it’s open again now.”
“I was coming here when they were closed doing the curbside thing,” Mr. Richmond said. “I’m way happier (because) I just got an email today saying that they were open.”
On top of letting people back into the stores, Best Buy will also return to providing in-home consultations. However, they will continue conducting both contactless curbside pickup as well as virtual consultations for customers who would prefer that.
“Since the pandemic began, we’ve strived to provide customers with as many options as possible for how to get the technology they need,” Mr. Silva of Best Buy said in a statement. “This is the next step in that plan.”
According to the company’s statement, Best Buy will also have “dedicated shopping hours (Wednesdays from 10-11 a.m. local time) for our elderly and vulnerable shoppers so they can feel safe visiting our stores.” In addition, the company’s website, stores.bestbuy.com, said the Best Buy in Goleta will be open from 10 a.m. to 6 p.m. daily.