Best Buy Brags About Opening Stores In China to Employees Being Laid Off

In a sterling example of someone, somewhere not understanding how to “feel the room,” a memo from the office of Best Buy (NYSE:BBY) CEO to employees at two U.S. stores being closed essentially bragged about how the company was opening new stores…in China. ¬†In fact, it actually did this twice.

In the answers to two “frequently asked questions” in the memo about whether Best Buy will either be closing more stores or opening more stores as a result of the closure, the memo twice repeated: “While we are closing this location, Best Buy has opened 106 stand-alone Best Buy Mobile stores this fiscal year with 22 more openings scheduled in February as well as 40-50 Five Star stores in China.”

The company, to its credit, has told the employees at the two stores, located in Missouri and Arizona, that it will try to reassign as many of them as possible, and will provide severance for those who will be let go.  Nevertheless, given widespread public concern about outsourcing to foreign countries and the effect it has had on the economy, and the basic concerns of people on the verge of losing their job, the cut-and-paste press release financial statement seems particularly insensitive and ill-advised, if not downright mean.

Here’s how Best Buy shares are trading now:

Best Buy Co. Inc. (NYSE:BBY): BBY shares recently traded at $24.29, up $0.34, or 1.42%. They have traded in a 52-week range of $21.79 to $35.45. Volume today was 3,517,106 shares versus a 3-month average volume of 6,524,580 shares. The company’s trailing P/E is 8.38, while trailing earnings are $2.90 per share.