Best Buy told store employees Tuesday that it will continue to pay them for another two weeks even as its stores are closed except for order pickups.
The Richfield-based electronics chain, which employs about 125,000 people, temporarily closed its stores a little more than a week ago because of the coronavirus.
It said then it would pay employees until this Saturday even though they didn't have to come to work. Now, it will keep paying them through April 18.
Employees who volunteer to work, chiefly by helping with curbside pickup and online orders, are being paid an additional $2.50 an hour.
"We're constantly thinking about how to best take care of our employees and balance the needs of our business," the company said in a statement. "As we explore all of our options for what comes next, we've committed to paying all of our store and services field employees through April 18."
This week, major department stores including Macy's, Kohl's and J.C. Penney whose stores are also closed indefinitely because of the pandemic, said they would furlough workers as the store closures extend beyond the initial two weeks. Online sales at many of those retailers have also dried up.
But Best Buy has seen higher-than-expected sales so far this quarter as many consumers and companies have bought monitors, keyboards, and computers to work at home. Sales of appliances such as refrigerators and freezers have also been on the uptick as Americans largely stay home.
As for Best Buy's corporate employees, the company is gauging their interest in options such as having more flexible work schedules with a reduction in pay as well as voluntary unpaid furloughs.
"Virtually all of our corporate employees are now working from home and we know many are burdened by trying to work full-time and take care of children," the company said.
Kavita Kumar • 612-673-4113