The rumors that have been circulating the past 18 month of popular electronics retailer Best Buy closing its New Tampa location have turned out to be true.

The store, located in The Walk at Highwoods Preserve off of Bruce B. Downs (BBD) Blvd. between the HomeGoods and Michaels store, has that announced it is shutting down on Oct. 31. The announcement points customers to the nearest locations in Brandon and Wesley Chapel (in The Grove).

The store has already begun the moving process. Many of the aisles in the New Tampa Best Buy have empty shelves and are blocked off, while some aisles are selling open box items at a 15-20 percent discount.

It is unclear if the effects of Covid-19 had a hand in the closing, although it had been rumored before the pandemic that the big box electronics giant’s New Tampa location had been struggling.

According to a recent report by CNN, Best Buy is at a disadvantage fighting companies like Amazon, Walmart, Target and Costco, because those others also sell food and other household essentials. Beat Buy is also facing higher costs when it comes with the rise in online orders. The CNN report says that “Best Buy’s gross profit rate fell 1.2 percentage points to 22.8% during the three months ending August 1, compared with the same period last year.”

The loss of Best Buy will leave a number of vacancies in the cross-section of BBD and around Highwoods Preserve Pkwy., such as the old Sweetbay grocery store (which has been vacant since 2013) and the former Romano’s Macaroni Grill restaurant (which has been closed since 2017, after two failed attempts after being revived as a Mexican restaurant) on the west side of BBD and the Pier 1 Importa (currently closing) on the east side.

The AMC Theater, which had to postpone a major renovation project and has been hit hard by Covid-19, and former Ruby Tuesday restaurant, which will be replaced by Aldi, are also on the east side on BBD.

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