Best Buy CEO: 'Great time to be a consumer'

After a year-long spending freeze, Brian Dunn says Americans are hitting stores again and retailers are responding with better deals.

EMAIL  |   PRINT  |   SHARE  |   RSS
 
google my aol my msn my yahoo! netvibes
Paste this link into your favorite RSS desktop reader
See all CNNMoney.com RSS FEEDS (close)
By Parija B. Kavilanz, CNNMoney.com senior writer

When will you know that an economic recovery is underway?
  • When the Dow tops 10,000
  • When GDP turns positive
  • When job growth resumes
  • It's already started

NEW YORK (CNNMoney.com) -- After a year-long spending freeze, the CEO of Best Buy says Americans are loosening their purse strings again -- but he's not betting that the shop-'til-you-drop mentality will make a comeback for this year's holiday shopping season.

"It's a great time to be a consumer," said Brian Dunn, the head of the No. 1 electronics retailer, during a media presentation Wednesday in New York about the company's holiday strategy. "Consumers can get prices and value that they've never seen."

At the same time, he said "a new normal" has emerged in how consumers are shopping, with value and experience just as important as the price point.

The year-end gift-buying marathon, which kicks off in earnest on "Black Friday," the day after Thanksgiving, is typically the most critical time of the year for retailers.

In fact, the November-December period can account for as much as 50% or more of merchants' annual profits and sales.

And even though Best Buy will have one less competitor for critical holiday sales, following Circuit City's demise earlier this year, Dunn said the retailer isn't breathing easier as a result.

"Every year I say this is the most important holiday season. It's true this year too," Dunn said Tuesday .

"But this one is particularly interesting," he said. "It's a bit of a paradoxical environment."

Dunn explained that while the recession and other events of the past year have seriously impacted consumers' spending behavior, Americans are "back out" and shopping again.

He said Best Buy (BBY, Fortune 500) is going to make sure its prices will be as compelling to consumers as its biggest competitors such as Wal-Mart (WMT, Fortune 500). He said the company would also promote its services, offered through its Geek Squad unit, as a point of differentiation with its competitors.

Dunn also said the company will be hiring more seasonal workers this year than last year for the holidays "because we anticipate better year-over-year performance," he said.

CNNMoney.com asked Dunn for his top five items from Best Buy for his holiday wishlist.

"A Netbook, [Samsung] HD Instinct cellphone, love the Flip high-def camcorder, ultra-thin LED TVs and a Best Buy gift card for people I love," he said.  To top of page

Features
They're hiring!These Fortune 100 employers have at least 350 openings each. What are they looking for in a new hire? More
If the Fortune 500 were a country...It would be the world's second-biggest economy. See how big companies' sales stack up against GDP over the past decade. More
Sponsored By:
More Galleries
These 20 antique guns could fetch big bucks Morphy Auctions in Pennsylvania is putting nearly 1,000 old guns on the block. Here are just a few. More
15 execs who make more than their CEOs Sure, corporate chiefs' pay often is eye-poppingly high. But at some companies, executives lower down the ladder quietly out-earned their CEO bosses. More
Novelty gifts for people with money to burn For those who've got the cash, these holiday gifts can really make a statement. More
Worry about the hackers you don't know 
Crime syndicates and government organizations pose a much greater cyber threat than renegade hacker groups like Anonymous. Play
GE CEO: Bringing jobs back to the U.S. 
Jeff Immelt says the U.S. is a cost competitive market for advanced manufacturing and that GE is bringing jobs back from Mexico. Play
Hamster wheel and wedgie-powered transit 
Red Bull Creation challenges hackers and engineers to invent new modes of transportation. Play

Most stock quote data provided by BATS. Market indices are shown in real time, except for the DJIA, which is delayed by two minutes. All times are ET. Disclaimer.

Morningstar: © 2014 Morningstar, Inc. All Rights Reserved.

Factset: FactSet Research Systems Inc. 2014. All rights reserved.

Chicago Mercantile Association: Certain market data is the property of Chicago Mercantile Exchange Inc. and its licensors. All rights reserved.

Dow Jones: The Dow Jones branded indices are proprietary to and are calculated, distributed and marketed by DJI Opco, a subsidiary of S&P Dow Jones Indices LLC and have been licensed for use to S&P Opco, LLC and CNN. Standard & Poor's and S&P are registered trademarks of Standard & Poor’s Financial Services LLC and Dow Jones is a registered trademark of Dow Jones Trademark Holdings LLC. All content of the Dow Jones branded indices © S&P Dow Jones Indices LLC 2014 and/or its affiliates.