Business

Electronics chain thinks Silverdale store is a Best Buy

"Best Buy officials last week acknowledged plans to open shop in the Silverdale building currently occupied by Fred Meyer Marketplace.The electronics superstore entered the Seattle-area market in fall 2000 and officials are working to expand in the region, according to Best Buy spokeswoman Connie Stelter. Best Buy also plans to open stores in Lynnwood, Bellingham and Federal Way this year.Fred Meyer will vacate the building at 9551 Ridgetop Blvd. by May 19, and turn over its long-term lease to Best Buy. Pacific Northwest Properties of Burlington owns the Ridgetop property. Groceries will be transferred to other area Fred Meyer branches, according to Fred Meyer spokesman Rob Boley. Best Buy bills itself as the nation's largest retailer of consumer electronics, personal computers and entertainment software. It has grown exponentially - 425 stores currently are open nationwide and the company plans to open an additional 225 by 2004, Stelter said. Best Buy will venture into international waters in 2002, when it opens 15 stores in Canada.We're having quite a growth spurt - we've been opening 60 stores a year for several years, Stelter said.The store also has been profitable, logging double-digit profit gains for each of the last four years, according to an article posted on the MSNMoneyCentral Web site. The 45,000-square-foot Silverdale store will employ between 100 and 150 full-time and part-time employees.Best Buy's reputation for low prices might help it compete in a market already supporting several electronics stores. When the store opens in fall 2001, it will go head-to-head with Circuit City, Good Guys and several department stores carrying similar wares, such as Costco and Sears.Best Buy's target market is tech enthusiasts, who usually tend to be young and male, Stelter said. But a large portion of the firm's business comes from people trying to make their time more efficient through technology purchases. The Fred Meyer Marketplace employs 85, all of whom have the option of transferring to other Fred Meyer stores. The possibility of closure was first announced to employees Feb. 23, and they were told about the Best Buy deal on April 25.We'll be in the process of analyzing openings at other stores, Boley said. Our intent is to make this a painless as possible for the employees - we want to take care of them.When transferred, employees might no longer be doing the same jobs, Boley said, but they will retain priveleges and benefits garnered via length of service with Fred Meyer. "

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