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Best Buy to hire 500 Geek Squad workers

NEW YORK (AP) -- Best Buy confirmed on Tuesday that it plans to hire 500 new Geek Squad staffers, about two weeks after it said it would lay off 600 existing workers in the tech support arm of its business, as it tries to focus the group less on basic installation services and more on remote tech consulting.

The Richfield, Minn.-based retailer said the new hires will be divided between the Geek Squad's online tech support and in Best Buy stores nationally. Hiring will take place throughout the fiscal year.

Best Buy spokeswoman Paula Baldwin said the new jobs focus less on basic installation services for individual products, and more on complex installations and on delivering online support.

The news was first reported by the Star Tribune.

Best Buy is in the process of reviewing its operations as it tries to combat the "showrooming" of its stores, when people check out merchandise in Best Buy stores and then buy it cheaper online. Offering expanded services is one way the company is trying to turn around results.

Earlier in July, the company said it would lay off 600 staffers in its Geek Squad technical support division and 1,800 other store workers as it seeks to restructure operations and improve results. Best Buy has a total staff of about 167,000.

Best Buy shares fell 8 cents to $18.82 in late day trading.