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Best Buy Cuts Back

Best Buy, the nation's biggest consumer electronics retailer, said Tuesday that its third-quarter profit sank as it faced dramatic changes in consumer spending and added that it will offer buyout packages to nearly all its corporate employees in an effort to cut costs.

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The company also plans to cut capital spending 50% in 2009 and open "significantly" fewer stores in the U.S., Canada and China.

These steps are designed to counter the U.S. recession and fend off increased competition from discounters such as Wal-Mart Stores (WMT), which has stepped up its product offering and cut prices in the key holiday shopping season.

Chief Executive Brad Anderson called the past 90 days the "most challenging consumer environment our company has ever faced," and said there has been a "dramatic and potentially long-lasting change in consumer behavior."

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