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Best Buy layoffs: Geek Squad on the firing line

Best Buy will lay off 2,400 employees, including 600 Geek Squad members.

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Customers look at a selection of plasma flat screen television sets at Best Buy electronics store on November 27, 2009 in Fort Worth, Texas. (Tom Pennington/AFP/Getty Images)

Best Buy Co. will lay off 2,400 employees, including 600 workers in its customer tech support division known as the Geek Squad, according to Bloomberg News.

The layoffs are in addition to the 400 jobs Best Buy has slashed as it’s closed 50 US stores this year, Fox News reported. The company is struggling to compete against online retailers like Amazon.

More from GlobalPost: Best Buy closing 50 big-box stores, laying off 400

The new job cuts will shrink the electronics retailer’s total workforce by 1.4 percent and the Geek Squad by 3 percent, Fox News reported. The Geek Squad cuts amount to the loss of about one tech specialist per store, the Wall Street Journal reported.

The Geek Squad is "the reason you spend 10 percent more buying a television from Best Buy, because you need someone to install it and get it done right," Michael Pachter, analyst for Wedbush Securities Inc., told the Wall Street Journal.

But Best Buy is realigning its workforce so that more employees can answer customers’ technical questions, the Wall Street Journal reported.

According to Wall Street Journal:

Interim Chief Executive Mike Mikan said during May's earnings call that at its new, smaller-format store models, Best Buy will expect both Geek Squad agents and the prototypical sales-floor workers known as Blue Shirts to speak with authority about technology, with a mandate to shift customer expectations from repair to one of relationship.

Employees who are let go will be eligible for job-placement assistance and severance packages, according to Bloomberg News.

More from GlobalPost: Best Buy chairman Richard M. Schulze jumps ship early
 

http://www.globalpost.com/dispatch/news/regions/americas/united-states/120706/best-buy-layoffs-geek-squad-firing