Best Buy plans to soon shut down its store in Hixson, but the electronics retailer will maintain its other, older local outlet in East Brainerd.
In a statement Monday from company spokeswoman Olivia Bruce, Best Buy said it is not renewing its lease in the Towne Center North shopping center on Highway 153 and will close the 17-year-old store on March 4.
"This closure is a part of our regular and ongoing review process of stores as leases come up for renewal," Best Buy said in a statement Monday. "The decision to close a store is never an easy one, and we are so grateful for our Hixson-area customers who have shopped with us over the years."
In a sign on the door of the 20,000-square-foot store in Hixson, Best Buy says the store closing "is not goodbye, it's see you around," noting that customers can continue to shop at the Best Buy in the Overlook at Hamilton Place on Gunbarrel Road or online at BestBuy.com. Best Buy has operated its store in East Brainerd since 1993 shortly after the nearby Hamilton Place mall opened in 1987.
From its peak reached in 2012 when Best Buy operated 1,103 U.S. stores, the electronics retailer has closed 178 stores, including 13 stores last year. Earlier this month, Best Buy Canada, a subsidiary of the Minneapolis-based Best Buy that bills itself as Canada's largest consumer electronics store, said it is cutting the staff at its 160 stores by 700 jobs.
The economic slowdown is projected to trim Best Buy sales this year. In its most recent quarterly outlook, Best Buy Chief Financial Officer Matt Bilunas projects sales for 2023 will drop about 10%.
Brick-and-mortar stores continue to battle growing competition from online sales, especially for pricier durable goods like much of what Best Buy sells. But in its statement, Best Buy said physical stores "are central to our strategy and meeting the needs of our customers in a way no one else can, whether it's to touch and feel products, seek in-person expertise and service, or for fast and convenient fulfillment."
The closing of the Hixson Best Buy will come only 10 months after a Las Vegas investment group bought the Towne Center North shopping center, which is anchored by Best Buy, Target and Bed, Bath & Beyond at 5591 Highway 153. The retail complex was erected in 2006 by the Chattanooga-based Wolford Development Inc., which sold the 89,327-square-foot shopping center last May for $16.7 million to an entity doing business as Credi Bakersfield LP.
Dino Crescentini Jr., an investor in Dino Management, Inc. & CREDI Investments who oversees the center, said in a telephone interview Monday that the new owners are looking at other tenants to fill the space after it is vacated by Best Buy in March.
"As big box retailers like Best Buy make changes to respond to the market, we think there are great opportunities for other uses for this space," Crescentini said.
Best Buy's decision to close its Hixson location while keeping its store in East Brainerd is similar to the recent closings of the Hixson locations of Steak 'n Shake and Cicis Pizza. Both of the franchise restaurants are maintaining other Steak 'n Shake and Cicis Pizza outlets on Gunbarrel Road.