Best Buy has stopped selling the Samsung Galaxy Note 7, joining a growing list of mobile carriers and others ceasing sales of the smartphone amid reports that both new and replacement devices have caught fire.
The Verge obtained a statement from Best Buy which read, "We have stopped selling all Samsung Note 7 phones. Customers can visit a Best Buy store to return or exchange their Note 7 for a different phone of their choice."
Within hours of Best Buy's announcement, Samsung asked all of its selling partners worldwide to halt sales of the device. The device manufacturer has given few details about what may have caused the fires.
Best Buy clearly made the correct decision to discontinue sales of the Note 7 amid ongoing reports of device fires. But that doesn't make the move any less difficult.
New generations of gadgets usually lead to nice sales bumps for everyone involved, and at the very least should prove to be traffic drivers for retailers like Best Buy, who tend to pretty energetic about promoting their arrival. However, the sales stoppage could prove especially painful for Best Buy, which has been one of Samsung's biggest retail partners as the gadget maker tries to compete with Apple's brick-and-mortar store presence. Best Buy began opening Samsung Experience Shops inside its own stores in 2013 as part of its store-within-a-store strategy, a significant element in Best Buy's in-store revamps taken up that same year.
Though Best Buy obviously has nothing at all to do with the Note 7 mishaps, it could suffer by association, as consumers may vent the anger in being sold a problematic device at the retailer instead of (or as well as) the supplier.
As always, there will be new generations of these devices coming along, and if Samsung can prove the current issue won't be a problem in those devices, reputations, sales and (for Best Buy) in-store traffic all can bounce back. Until then, don't be surprised if Best Buy is pushing other products a little bit harder. For instance, we hear it's doing a lot with virtual reality gear right now.