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Best Buy monitoring rivals’ holiday prices

Best Buy Co., the world’s largest consumer-electronics retailer, may cut online prices as it heads into the holiday shopping season to compete with rivals such as Amazon.com.

Best Buy sets prices for televisions, tablet computers and smartphones based upon “what is selling online, what is selling in the store, what is selling with the competition,” Stephen Gillett, president of digital, global marketing and strategy, said last week in an interview.

The retailer may reduce prices “to make sure that we are competitive across those categories.”

Best Buy, which generates about 6 percent of sales online, is beefing up efforts under new Chief Executive Officer Hubert Joly. The retailer Wednesday hired a new e-commerce chief, former Expedia Inc. President Scott Durchslag, as total revenue heads for its first annual decline, according to data compiled by Bloomberg.

Durchslag, 46, starts Oct. 8 as president of online and global e-commerce, the Richfield, Minn.-based retailer said.

Offering competitive prices is “just the price to play” as consumers increasingly compare prices using smartphones and the Web, Durchslag said in an interview today from Chicago.

Consumers “are trying to reach a general conclusion that they are not having to pay more than they need to,” Durchslag said.

The promotional environment for consumer electronics will probably remain “intense” this year, according to Alan Rifkin, an analyst at Barclays in New York.

“The intense competition that drove margin contraction in 2011 is likely to continue for the foreseeable future,” Rifkin wrote in an Oct. 2 note.

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