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Best Buy will sell luggage, grills as it seeks to capitalize on reopening economy, housing market

A view of a Best Buy retail store on August 29, 2019 in San Bruno, California.

Justin Sullivan | Getty Images

Best Buy is starting to sell luggage and outdoor grills, as it tries to take advantage of the rebounding travel industry and the popularity of investing in the home.

The consumer electronics retailer said Tuesday that shoppers can now find Tumi suitcases, Weber grills and other outdoor items, from patio furniture to heaters, on its website — along with its usual mix of laptops, videogame consoles and other gadgets. Some of those items are geared toward tech purchases, such as laptop bags and a new eSports collection from Tumi that can carry gaming gear.

With the move, Best Buy joins other retailers breaking into new categories and expanding the online assortment to capture more of consumers’ attention and dollars. Lowe’s has also added adjacent products, such as outdoor toys like trampolines, small appliances like air fryers and exercise equipment. Other retailers, such as Walmart and Target, have used third-party marketplaces as a way to grow e-commerce sales and break into new categories or brands.

Best Buy’s online sales in the U.S. rose 144.4% last fiscal year, as Americans bought computer monitors, tablets, kitchen appliances and other tools to work, learn and cook at home. The company got a lift from stimulus spending in the first quarter and raised its forecast for the first half of the year. However, Chief Financial Officer Matt Bilunas said demand could taper off later in the year as consumers spend on other areas, such as travel.

Its online sales growth slowed to 7.6% year-over-year in the first quarter and reflected the tough year-over-year comparisons the retailer faces in the coming months.

With luggage and home-related merchandise, Best Buy is betting that the reopening economy and strength of the real estate market can drive sales. CEO Corie Barry said last month that rising home values inspired customers to buy big-screen TVs and hire the company to set up technology around their house in the first quarter.

“Even with the elevated demand we have seen throughout the pandemic, we believe the nesting phenomenon will continue to drive demand for products and services that help customers improve their home experience,” she said on the company’s first-quarter earnings call.

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