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Best Buy Laid Off 5,000 Employees in February, Expects to Close More Stores This Year

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NEW YORK, NY - NOVEMBER 24: People line up outside of Best Buy near the Green Acres Mall on Black Friday on November 24, 2017 in Valley Stream, NY. (Photo by Stephanie Keith/Getty Images)

Best Buy announced Thursday that it laid off 5,000 full-time store employees this month despite seeing a rise in sales amid the coronavirus pandemic.

The tech business has experienced a surge in online business as more people are staying home and not visiting stores in person. According to the Associated Press, Best Buy will replace the laid-off full-time workers with 2,000 part-time workers.

Best Buy currently has more than 100,000 employees, which is down 21,000 or 17 percent from the year before.

"In addition to our physical stores, our operating model needs to evolve to meet our customers' changing shopping behaviors that have been accelerated by the pandemic," CEO Corie Barry during the company's quarterly earnings call on Thursday, according to USA Today.

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"The sudden and lasting shift customers have made to shopping more regularly and seamlessly across all of our channels has forced us to look at how we get our work done," she added.

The company announced that its online sales jumped 89 percent from November to the end of January, compared with the same months one year prior, the outlet reported. Revenue during that quarter also increased 11 percent.

Best Buy also announced that it could close more stores than usual in the upcoming year.

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The company said it closed 40 of its stores in the past two years and expects to close even more in 2021. Best Buy said they have approximately 450 leases coming up for renewal in the next three years.

The company currently has around 1,000 stores in the United States, CNN reported.

"There will be higher thresholds on renewing leases as we evaluate the role each store plays," Barry added.

News of the forthcoming closures comes one day after Fry's Electronics announced it would be permanently closing all of its locations nationwide.

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The company — which is known for unique themes at some of its stores — announced in a statement on its website that an ever-changing retail industry and the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic has forced them to close after nearly four decades in business.

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