February 16, 2013 / 2:15 AM / 5 years ago

Best Buy to make holiday price-matching policy year-round

* Will match online prices of rivals starting March 3

* Critics have said Best Buy is a showroom for shoppers who buy elsewhere

Feb 15 (Reuters) - Best Buy Co Inc will make its holiday price-matching program a permanent year-round policy in an effort to fend off online rivals that often compete on price.

The world's largest consumer electronics chain will match online prices starting March 3, a spokeswoman said late on Friday.

The retailer will also lower its return policy to 15 days from 30 days, she said.

Critics have long complained that Best Buy had become a showroom for Amazon.com Inc and other online retailers, with shoppers going to its stores to check out electronics like high-definition televisions and then buying them elsewhere for less.

Best Buy, which has struggled to fend off its discount and online rivals, showed the first signs of a turnaround in its U.S. stores recently when it reported flat same-store sales during the holiday season.

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