Retail Turns a Corner
Oates: I think that when companies are publicly held, like some of our competitors are, they're driven to drive their top line. At some point, you have to be prudent and say, 'At what price market share?' Our job is to make a profit every day and not necessarily drive the top line; it's a fine line you have to walk and one reason why public companies don't fare nearly as well. Obviously, Circuit City was chasing that market share carrot and that strategy didn't work for them. And execution at the big-box level certainly isn't as good as you'll find at a well-run independent.
Maloney: Competition was brutal on TVs. We had to figure out ways of attaching accessories to them, making our salespeople more aware of getting people to buy things to help them enjoy their TVs to the utmost.
Thofner: Margins were down about five percent on TVs alone. The blame goes to the aggressive pricing at Best Buy. A much lesser problem was some of the aggressive pricing on the Internet. Our ASP versus the year before was down.