Thursday July 12, 2012

LANESBOROUGH -- Best Buy's plan to lay off 2,400 employees at stores nationwide has the potential to affect the Lanesborough location, according to a company spokesman. But the store's general manager expressed some confidence there'd be no changes.

Best Buy corporate spokes man Bruce Hight on Wednes day said "it's possible" that employees at the Berkshire Mall location could be affected.

"Individual store figures and state figures haven't been released at this point," he said.

Berkshire Mall Best Buy general manager Daniel Sal zarulo said he didn't believe his 70 employees would be affected.

Hight said most of the company's employees whose positions will be cut already have been notified by the company. Those whose jobs are eliminated will be kept on the payroll until Aug. 1, Hight said. They will be given the opportunity to apply for other jobs within the company,

Of those 2,400 positions being eliminated nationwide, 600 are Geek Squad representatives, Hight said. Best Buy acquired Geek Squad, the company's personal computer repair service, in 2002. Best Buy currently has 167,000 full-time employees nationwide, including some 20,000 Geek Squad representatives.

The layoffs are part of the Best Buy leadership team's long-term plan to secure the company's future. In March, Best Buy announced plans to close 50 of its stores in the United States as a cost-cutting measure. Only two of those stores were in Massachusetts -- in Boston and in Wareham -- and just four were located in the Northeast.

Salzarulo said he just returned from a general manager's meeting in Atlanta, where the conversation centered around reducing the size of some of Best Buy's larger stores not employee layoffs.

"There's been no word of layoffs or anything like that," Salzarulo said

Stores that contain 45,000 to 60,000 square feet are the ones being considered for reduction because electronics are becoming smaller, Salzarulo said. The mall's store contains 35,000 square feet.

Best Buy is currently negotiating a new lease with Pyramid Management Group of Syracuse, N.Y., which operates the Berkshire Mall. The company's current 10-year lease with Pyramid expires in August, Salzarulo said.

Best Buy, which has been located in Lanesborough since 2002, is one of the mall's four anchor stores.

Although Best Buy has looked at other sites in the Berkshires, a standard procedure in case an agreement can't be reached, Salzarulo said indications are that the company will remain at the mall.

"That's the way it looks right now," Salzarulo said.