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A view of a Best Buy retail store on August 29, 2019 in San Bruno, California.

Justin Sullivan | Getty Images

Best Buy said it will gradually reopen its doors to customers with in-store consultations by appointment.

Starting in May, the company said about 200 of its U.S. stores will allow shoppers to schedule a time to meet with a dedicated sales associate to talk about technology needs, discuss a potential purchase of a kitchen appliance or more. The appointments will help keep customers and employees safe by making sure there’s space for social distancing, the company said in a news release. 

The move indicates the big-box retailer is trying to get its stores open and more of its workers back to business. During the coronavirus pandemic, Best Buy has temporarily shut stores to customers and shifted to a curbside pickup model. It suspended all in-home delivery, installation and repairs. Earlier this month, it furloughed about 51,000 employees — nearly all of its part-time workers and some of its full-time ones. 

Best Buy saw an initial increase in sales as customers bought items for long stays at home, including computer monitors for home offices, technology for remote learning and freezers for additional food storage.

It said it has retained about 70% of its sales compared with last year, as its stores have remained closed to customers and employees have stopped going to customers homes.

In a video message announcing the furloughs on April 15, Best Buy CEO Corie Barry said the retailer has focused on keeping customers safe, protecting jobs for as many employees as possible and making sure the company  is “well-positioned to thrive in what will almost certainly be a new and very different environment.”

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