Best Buy is talking to vendors about entering the powersports audio market, possibly next year, according to industry sources.
Additionally, like other retailers, Best Buy is cutting back on its single CD head unit models. The retail giant, with over 1,000 stores with installation, is also changing the way it stocks head units, including AV and in-dash navigation models.
Less popular models will see lighter inventory levels at the stores, and Best Buy will rely more heavily on it many distribution centers around the country. So customers might be required to make an installation appointment for a later date if they buy a less popular radio.
For the more popular head unit models, Best Buy will stock full inventory at the stores. Amplifier and speaker inventory levels are expected to remain as is, sources said.
Best Buy did not respond to two CEoutlook inquiries.
Many vendors said Best Buy has been able to turn the company around from its losses a few years ago. They praised the new car stereo management team at the chain, including long time installation manager Randall Schwartz, who now heads much of the car audio program.
Best Buy’s profit jumped 21 percent in the recent quarter ended in August.
Best Buy employs about 2000 “autotech” installers. More than 3/4ths of these are MECP certified, the store told us in January.
In separate news Monday, Best Buy said it will begin stocking products from startups. It’s Mountain View, CA store will have a dedicated section for crowdfunded gadgets. Some new gadgets will also be available on bestbuy.com.