Sales of office equipment and kitchen appliances helped Best Buy in pandemic’s early days

A look at the top electronics and telecom retailers from NRF’s 2020 Top Retailers list

The National Retail Federation’s annual report on the Top 100 Retailers is based on sales for the most recently completed fiscal year. The Power Player charts look at retailers with 2019 U.S. sales equal to or greater than 10 percent of sales of the category leader.

Coming off a strong holiday season, Best Buy had high hopes for 2020. Even as the pandemic was rearing its ugly head, Best Buy officials said in a news release, “We view this as a relatively short-term disruption that does not impact our long-term strategy and initiatives.”

2020 Top 100 Retailers List

Ranking the industry’s largest companies according to sales. Check it out here.


In fact, the early days of shelter-in-place orders and nonessential business closings helped boost sales of keyboards, monitors, webcams and laptops for those new to working from home. And Best Buy was a major beneficiary from a run on refrigerators and freezers by those stocking up on food and supplies as schools and restaurants closed and social distancing became the manner of the day.

Reality set in as the crisis continued and sales plunged 30 percent from 2019 levels. Best Buy joined the parade, locked stores and furloughed some 51,000 hourly store associates. CEO Corie Barry took a 50 percent pay cut; other senior executives lost 20 percent. The stores then served as sites for online delivery or curbside pickup, with about half the Geek Squad available for technical consultations and repairs.

Apple is still a retail powerhouse, but it is now doing it without the iconic iTunes as a music, video and media flagship. iTunes was killed off last year to make room for a suite of apps that includes Apple Music, Apple TV and Apple Podcasts. “The future of iTunes is not one app, but three,” said Craig Federighi, senior vice president of software engineering at Apple. The name lives on as the iTunes Music Store in the Apple Music app.

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