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Best Buy closing Manteca store
Use of stores as showrooms for on-line shopping gets blame
Shoppers at the Manteca Best Buy on Sunday. - photo by HIME ROMERO

Best Buy’s Manteca store in The Promenade Shops at Orchard Valley is closing May 12.

It is one of 50 nationwide that the electronics retailer is closing as it continues to struggle to compete with on-line competition.

Analysts have noted Best Buy has been slammed hard by customers who use its retail stores as showrooms to examine products but then go on line to buy with being the biggest benefactor.

Circuit City closed its Manteca store in the Stadium Retail Center plus their 566 other stores when they went into bankruptcy in 2009. JoAnn Fabrics opened in the vacated Circuit City space last year.

Ironically, Best Buy’s marketing model was largely credited by analysts with driving both Circuit City and CompUSA out of business. The same analysts believe Best Buy could face the same fate at the hands of unless it reinvents its marketing strategy.

Best Buy is trying to do that by initially opening 100 smaller stores to compete in the saturated but profitable cell phone market. Best Buy is also sharpening its on-line presence. Unlike Circuit City when it started its store closings, Best Buy is not facing bankruptcy and has cash on hand to invest in marketing changes.

Best Buy has over 1,400 stores worldwide. Of the 50 closures, seven are in California. Best Buy is retaining their Tracy and Stockton stores for now as well as the one in Modesto. It is part of a restructuring plan that is eliminating 400 jobs at Best Buy’s corporate headquarters in Richfield, Minnesota.

The announcement Saturday caught shoppers off-guard. The company had temporarily closed the Manteca store and was redirecting customers to nearby locations with the offer of a $10 gift certificate.