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Five Questions For Brian Dunn, President, Best Buy

Posted by: Helen Walters on January 22, 2009

Dunn_Brian.jpg On the face of things, Best Buy looks pretty well placed right now. Arch rival Circuit City filed for bankruptcy in November last year and after it announced its liquidation on Jan 16, BBY’s stock jumped. But retail’s a pretty grim industry right now: Retail sales dropped 2.7% in the U.S. in December as stores reported the worst holiday shopping season in decades, and Best Buy certainly isn’t immune to the impact on consumer spending of a protracted downturn. What a time, then, for Brian Dunn to take over as CEO. Currently President and COO, Dunn is a 23 year veteran of the company, who started as a sales associate back in 1985, when there were a mere 12 stores across the United States (that figure now tops 1,000.) Dunn is coming in to BW on Thursday 29 January to talk to Corporations Editor Matt Boyle about his hopes, fears and plans for the years ahead. We’ll ask five of your questions in a video interview we’ll post here shortly afterwards. So. Tell us. What would you like Dunn to address?

Reader Comments

Saul Kaplan

January 22, 2009 7:08 PM

Question for Brian Dunn

How can social media platforms like Blue Shirt Nation contribute to Best Buy's operating performance and shareholder value?

Saul Kaplan
Founder and Chief Catalyst
Business Innovation Factory


January 23, 2009 10:55 AM

Via Twitter:

How do you avoid Circuit City's fate? With specifics.



January 23, 2009 10:56 AM

Via Twitter:

How is the initiative to source ideas from the bottom up going at Best Buy? ROI?


Kim Garretson

January 23, 2009 10:58 AM

Via Twitter:

How much opportunity is there for BBY in digital music? Will the Napster brand expand to new products & services, like Geek Squad?


Russell Thomas

January 23, 2009 11:01 AM

Via Twitter:

Can BB up their Mac software offerings?


Neil Stern

January 23, 2009 11:15 AM

How will Circuit City's bankruptcy impact your business in the short and long term?

Neil Stern
Senior Partner
McMillanDoolittle LLP

Chris Flanagan

January 23, 2009 11:50 AM

I would slightly alter Saul Kaplan's question:

How has the social media platform Blue Shirt Nation contributed to Best Buy's operating performance and shareholder value?


Jackie Hutter

January 23, 2009 12:09 PM

No questions--just a big thanks to him for renting out Constitution Hall in DC for the inauguration! Very innovative way to reach out to the buying public and my family will be grateful always to Best Buy for allowing us to be warm and toasty while watching the festivities.

Kerstin Delaney

January 23, 2009 12:15 PM

What customer-centric initiatives, if any, do you plan to launch in the aftermath of Circuit City's demise? How do you plan to keep customers shopping with you?


Damian Palmares

January 23, 2009 1:00 PM

In what ways will you learn from the mistakes of Circuit City, in order to avoid the same demise of your company?

Although Best Buy stores are much more customer friendly and focused than Circuit City ever was, I don't see another major big-box player stepping up anytime soon that could rival your company.


January 23, 2009 1:29 PM

In light of the economic circumstances affecting the retail industry in general, Is Best Buy adjusting it's revenue goals at the store level now that consumers are spending only a fraction of what the were 8-12 months ago? Are employees still expected to meet what some might call "unrealistic" numbers?


January 23, 2009 2:00 PM

With Circuit City's closing, and your company stating that capital expenses will be cut by 50%. Will Best Buy be opening new stores in the US or will you focus on expansion in China & Canada?


January 23, 2009 2:12 PM

do you have any plans to get the retailers' crown from walmart??

Dylan Tweney -

January 23, 2009 2:27 PM

Given the ease and convenience of online shopping, and the vast amount of information available to me online, why would I ever want to set foot inside a Best Buy store?

Diane Hessan

January 23, 2009 5:11 PM

At a time when consumers seem to be just looking for "the best deals", what's your plan for capturing their imagination?

Diane Hessan

January 23, 2009 5:13 PM

In this tough economy, what are you hearing from your customers? Are they merely looking for "the best deals", or do they think the Best Buy has secret sauce?

David Cushman

January 23, 2009 6:04 PM

Via Twitter:

How much value has trusting his people added to his business?


Jeanne Yocum

January 23, 2009 6:05 PM

Via Twitter:

Now that Best Buy's the only game in town, will you stop the bait & switch advertising?


Greg Robinson

January 23, 2009 6:06 PM

Via Twitter:

What is your vision for the company over the next 5 years?


Michael Goldberg

January 23, 2009 6:07 PM

Via Twitter:

nteresting that Best Buy has a 6-month transition ; unusual lately? related to turbulent times?


Weekly Leader

January 23, 2009 6:08 PM

Via Twitter:

As new ceo (leader) in a rapidly deteriorating economy, where do you turn for advice, counsel + support?


Cody Barbierri

January 23, 2009 6:08 PM

Via Twitter:

What is Best Buy's supply chain strategy for 2009 as the global supplier base continues to shrink?


Weekly Leader

January 23, 2009 6:13 PM

Via Twitter:

Who or what has been the greatest inspiration or influence on your leadership style?


Weekly Leader

January 23, 2009 6:14 PM

Via Twitter:

Question for Brian Dunn (last one.) As a seller of tech, what tech/communication tools do U use daily to help lead your company?


Damian Palmares

January 23, 2009 8:05 PM

Will you look to the online world, such as Amazon in order to gather information and ideas as how to become an online leader in retail, as well as brick and morter?

Damian Palmares

January 23, 2009 8:06 PM

Good questions leader.


January 23, 2009 8:08 PM

How much does the Geek Squad contribute to Best Buy's business?


January 24, 2009 2:35 AM

In present era of economic downturn where reducing costs & avoiding risks are do you make sure that new ideas selected will be successful. How do you choose & test the feasibility of new ideas before their actual implementation in order to make sure innovation practices are successful.


January 24, 2009 6:13 PM

Where did Circuit City go wrong?, and what will you do avoid those mistakes?

Mike Reardon

January 24, 2009 9:02 PM

Anyone projecting a minor Y2K event selling Digital TV’s to people who must replace their analog TV’s? Is there a plan in place for a surprise demand?

Mark F

January 25, 2009 7:17 AM

Do you plan to continue with the print version of the sales flyer - or to saved trees and huge expense - will you go to strictly an online version sometime soon?

peter Holstein

January 25, 2009 5:55 PM

Best Buy is at the cutting edge of many things. Among others, it's at the cutting edge of the culture of consumption. In what ways might you shift Best Buy's operating goals to emphasize "conscious consumption" instead of "conspicuous consumption"?

Peddi Kanumuri

January 26, 2009 11:01 AM

How do you position Best Buy in these times and have your customers come to stores and make them buy?

Doug Vinson

January 26, 2009 1:00 PM

What is your plan to overhaul the horrendous customer relations reputation at the local store level, where warrantied repairs are often denied unless escalated to executives, and even then consumer satisfaction and a commitment to responsiveness is typically ignored at the highest echelons of management.


January 26, 2009 3:02 PM

Given that ~70% of consumers research items before entering your store, how will you promote a connection between product information gathered online/mobile and the store buying experience?

Carlos Soto

January 26, 2009 7:33 PM

What will be BB biggest challenge in these troubled times? What would BB do to avoid cutting jobs? How will you attract more customers?


January 27, 2009 12:40 PM


Being a # 1 retailer, do you think your store model is still in trouble? Take a look at sales. The trend is online sales. More people go to stores for a demo and buy from an online retailer and get great discount and sometimes no tax and free shipping. Where do you see yourself in couple of years.



January 27, 2009 1:01 PM

What would be Best Buy strategy?

The old Increase profits Vs Increase sales startegy OR the currenly vogue decrease cost strategy? - by cutting jobs, new store openings, negotiate with vendors etc


January 27, 2009 11:31 PM

Admittedly, it was a busy Saturday afternoon. But last weekend I walked out of a Best Buy store empty-handed, having failed to find anyone to help. This has happened several times before; I once left $1,200 worth of electronics on a cart when the third employee in a row went off to find the last piece I needed and failed to return. Even "take a number" would be an improvement. I must echo Dylan's question: Why would I ever want to set foot inside a Best Buy store?

Abdulrahman S. Bajammal

January 28, 2009 2:02 AM

Dear Mr.Dunn,

How do you think Best Buy will perform under the current financial environment if it lasts longer than predicted? What do you plan on doing to enhance the company's performance?


Ian Schafer

January 28, 2009 11:32 AM

What is the possibility of Best Buy implementing more robust community offerings to better fulfill the promise of customers helping customers, removing *some* of the burden from what is now a highly scaled sales staff? And can it do that while still preserving the relationships it has with its suppliers?

Jeremiah Trein

January 28, 2009 1:47 PM

Mr. Dunn,

With the U.S. economy in dire straits will Best Buy continue to place emphasis on expanding its multinational base of loyal customers--especially with a brand new store in Mexico, as of December 2008, and another due to open in Turkey?

Thank you and best wishes for your new position, sir!


Paige Holden

January 28, 2009 4:02 PM

Via Twitter:

Now that consumers expect major sales and promotions, will you provide and how will that impact margins?



January 30, 2009 10:58 AM

In keeping with some of the questions above, how do you plan to stay competitive when bargain hunting is made simple online? I can give you one instance. I found the same Plasma TV Best Buy offered for 800 dollars cheaper and all i had to do was walk 200 yards out the Best Buy door to a Costco. I actually did the search in the Best Buy store. Also got a 2 year extended Costco warranty for free.

Helen Walters

January 30, 2009 11:18 AM

Dear All,
Thanks so much for the great questions. Brian Dunn has now left the building. I'll post the video link here as soon as I have it.
Thanks again,


January 31, 2009 2:41 PM

Will your Results Only Work Environment or ROWE continue as a model? Why or why not?


February 1, 2009 8:43 PM

What product innovations or areas of innovation do you believe manufacturers should explore to create the next generation of "must-have" products to get consumers buying again?


February 2, 2009 12:32 PM

How does your "Reward Zone" program factor into your customer retention and growth strategies?

Helen Walters

February 3, 2009 12:34 PM

Thanks again for the questions. As promised, here's the link to the video interview:

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