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Best Buy, the largest U.S. consumer electronics chain, is laying off workers to adapt to new changes in consumer behavior as the virus subsides.

Best Buy declined to disclose the number of layoffs, but The Wall Street Journal, which first reported the news, estimated it involved hundreds of jobs at the store level.

“We are constantly evaluating and developing our team to ensure we serve our customers,” Best Buy said in a statement emailed to The Associated Press. We've made adjustments to our team, including the elimination of a few characters. “

Best Buy cut its annual sales and profit forecasts late last month, citing soaring inflation that dampened consumer spending on electronics. The Minneapolis-based company echoed Walmart, which cut its profit forecast a few days ago. The largest U.S. retailer said rising prices for basic necessities are forcing shoppers to cut back on non-essential purchases.

Walmart also announced earlier this month that it would cut jobs at its corporate headquarters as part of a restructuring effort.

Still, the latest update on the overall U.S. job market remains strong, even as inflation continues to rage and affect businesses of all types. Last week, the government reported that the unemployment rate fell another notch, from 3.6% to 3.5%, matching the pre-pandemic low of more than 50 years. Now, when COVID-19 hit the U.S., the economy has recovered all the 22 million jobs lost in March and April 2020.

Best Buy said last month that it now expects an 11% drop in sales at stores open at least a year this year, well above the 3% to 6% decline it initially forecast in May.

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For Best Buy's fiscal second quarter, it expects comparable sales to fall 13%. Still, revenue for the quarter should be about 7.5% higher than in the second quarter of 2020.

Best Buy is scheduled to report quarterly results on August 30.

By Rebecca French

Rebecca French writes books about Technology and smartwatches. Her books have received starred reviews in Technology Shout, Publishers Weekly, Library Journal, and Booklist. She is a New York Times and a USA Today Bestseller...