Best Buy Q4 earnings, comp sales top Street; gives upbeat guidance

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Best Buy Q4 earnings, comp sales top Street; gives upbeat guidance

By Marianne Wilson - 02/27/2019
Best Buy reported a strong fourth quarter amid increased holiday demand for wearables, appliances, gaming and smart home devices.

The consumer electronics giant said net income rose to $735 million, or $2.69 per share, in the quarter ended Feb. 2, from $364 million, or $1.23 a share, a year ago. Excluding one-time items, Best Buy earned $2.72 a share, topping expectations for $2.57.

Total revenue fell 3.7% to $14.80 billion, but still beat expectations of $14.70 billion. (The quarter had one less week compared to the year-ago period.) Domestic online revenue was $2.96 billion, an increase of 9.3% on a comparable basis primarily amid higher conversion rates and increased traffic. Online now represents almost 22% of Best Buy’s total U.S. revenue.

Same-store sales rose 3%, higher than expected. It was the retailer’s reported eight consecutive quarter of same-store sales gains.

“We are very proud of the financial results we have just delivered," said Best Buy CEO Hubert Joly. “In addition to these great financial results, we made significant progress implementing our Best Buy 2020 strategy to enrich lives through technology and further develop our competitive differentiation. We launched our Total Tech Support program, expanded our In-Home Advisor program and acquired GreatCall.”

Launched in May, Best Buy’s $199-per-year “Total Tech Support” program includes unlimited support online and in stores for tech devices. It had 1 million members sign up by the end of the year.

In comments, Neil Saunders of GlobalData Retail said that many mainstream tech firms are focusing on incremental improvements which are inconsequential to consumers and unlikely to generate significant growth. Given that, Best Buy’s ability to think beyond tech products by moving into into tech services makes sense.

“This is a major part of the company’s future plans and it increases our optimism for medium to longer term performance,” Saunders said. For more of his comments, click here.

For the full year, revenue rose to $42.9 billion, up from revenue of $42.2 billion. Same-store sales were up 4.8%.

Best Buy said it is raising its quarterly dividend by 11% to 50 cents per share. It also announced a new $3 billion share repurchase program.

Looking to fiscal 2020, Best Buy forecast earnings per share of between $5.45 and $5.65. Analysts were expecting $5.49 a share. It estimates annual revenue of $42.9 billion to $43.9 billion. Analysts were expecting sales of $43.39 billion.

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