04/13/2012 08:31 am ET

The Future Retail Wasteland

Brian Dunn was practically ebullient. “The one critical thing we offer the world is choice,” the Best Buy (BBY) chief executive officer said in a March phone interview with Bloomberg Businessweek. He was trumpeting in particular his company’s role in guiding customers through the expanding smartphone universe. “We provide the latest and greatest choice of all technology gear, from Apple (AAPL) products to Google (GOOG) products, and that brings more opportunity to help people put technology to use. That is a great place for us to be.” A week later, reality intruded. The consumer electronics retailer posted a $1.7 billion quarterly loss and announced it would close 50 stores nationwide. On April 10, Dunn resigned.

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