Best Buy CEO Eyes Bankrupt Retailer Locations

U.S. electronics retailer Best Buy Co could take advantage of bankruptcies in the sector by snapping up vacant store locations, but remains cautious as consumer spending continues to slide.

"We are looking at some of those [stores], but our first priority is to stay cash strong," chief executive Brad Anderson told Reuters on Thursday, on the sidelines of the World Economic Forum in Davos, Switzerland.

"We would be more cautious than we would [be] in most environments and take advantage of less of that than we would have a year or two ago," Anderson, who plans to retire in June, said.

Best Buy's top competitor, bankrupt Circuit City Stores Inc, said earlier this month it would liquidate its assets and shutter hundreds of U.S. stores after failing to reach a deal to sell itself.

On the subject of the U.S. economy, Anderson said he thought "we are probably close to a bottom," but sees the "risk of another real estate move down."

Consumer spending, he said, could see "a little further drift down as we go into the year."

On Wednesday, Best Buy said it would begin involuntary layoffs at its Minneapolis headquarters in an effort to cut costs.

The move follows similar actions at retailers across the United States as a deepening recession and soft housing market pressure consumer wallets.

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