Best Buy closing 50 big boxes in 2012, less locations for you to buy your Apple gear

Best Buy will be closing 50 of their big box stores in 2012, 8 previously announced and 42 more just made official. Most of them will be shut down by mid-May, a last few by July. The release talks about employees, and how they'll try to find them positions within the organization, but it doesn't speak clearly about a strategy moving forward. Only:

More broadly, our previously announced retail store actions are intended to increase points of presence, while decreasing overall square footage, for increased flexibility – including key store remodels with a new Connected Store format, while continuing to build out the successful Best Buy Mobile small format stores throughout the U.S. We will continue to share details of such actions as the year progresses. We are committed to making it easier for customers to shop with us, whenever and wherever they want.

I walk into an Apple Store and it's packed, and there easily a dozen if not a couple dozen Apple Store employees on the floor helping people. I walk into Best Buy and it's almost always empty -- not of customers but of employees. Whole sections are barren wastelands where's there's absolutely no one to help you. Or there's one poor staffer trying to help 3-6 people at once. I often leave, unable to find what I need or get any help, and I know I'm not alone. It's just not a good retail experience. And that's what Apple nails with the Apple Store.

Unfortunately, not everyone has an Apple Store near them, and if the Best Buy goes too, it makes it just that much harder to buy iPhones, iPods, iPads, and Macs in a brick and mortar store. Sure, pretty much everyone can buy online, but touching an Apple product, using them, is what drives sales.

Maybe this is a regrouping, a way for Best Buy to do more with less, and make the stores that remain better. If it's just cost cutting, however, well... seldom does starvation make something grow strong.

Full PR below, hit the source link for a complete list of the stores.

Source: Best buy

Brings total of store closures to 50 by end of 2012

Most locations will permanently close by May 12; three additional locations to close by late summer

RICHFIELD, Minn. – April 14, 2012 – Best Buy announced plans March 29, 2012 to close 50 U.S. stores as part of a number of key initiatives for this year. To date, we have closed two stores this year (one in Kansas City, Mo., and one in Scottsdale, Ariz.), plus have notified five Twin Cities stores and one San Antonio store that they will close later this year.

This morning, we have confirmed the remaining 42 store locations that will close. A complete list of store locations can be found at the end of this statement. Employees of these 42 stores have been notified this morning.

This was not an easy decision to make. We chose these stores carefully, and are working to ensure the impact to our employees will be as minimal as possible, while serving all customers in a convenient and satisfying way. But we also recognize the impact this news has on the people who deserve respect for the contributions they have made to our business.

We will be working to help these employees find other positions inside Best Buy. If they don’t find new positions, or if they choose not to work at a different location, a transition including severance packages will be available.

Three of these 42 locations remain open today, Saturday; the rest of the affected stores are closed today, and will reopen Sunday, April 15. Customers currently doing business with these stores are being contacted today.

We expect most of these stores will permanently close by May 12. Three additional locations are expected to permanently close later this summer. 2

Best Buy continues to have additional retail store locations – big boxes and standalone Best Buy Mobile stores – for customers to choose from in these affected locations.

More broadly, our previously announced retail store actions are intended to increase points of presence, while decreasing overall square footage, for increased flexibility – including key store remodels with a new Connected Store format, while continuing to build out the successful Best Buy Mobile small format stores throughout the U.S. We will continue to share details of such actions as the year progresses. We are committed to making it easier for customers to shop with us, whenever and wherever they want.