Best Buy profit falls but still beats Street's expectations

Best Buy (BBY), the largest consumer electronics retailer, posted better-than-expected quarterly earnings as its long-time rival Circuit City frittered away in bankruptcy.

Net earnings were $570 million, or $1.35 per share, down 23 percent compared with $737 million, or $1.71 per share, the previous year, the Richfield, Minn.-based company said in a statement. Excluding one-time items, earnings were $682 million, or $1.61 per share, a decrease of 6 percent from a year earlier.
Analysts surveyed by First Call on average expected earnings of $1.38.

Revenue rose 10 percent to $14.7 billion, fueled by gains in sales for home offices for items such as notebook computers and mobile phones.

"We prepared for reduced consumer spending, and we were pleased when the quarter finished stronger than it began," said Brad Anderson, chief executive officer and vice chairman of Best Buy, in the release. "This company continues to innovate and take market share because of our culture, our talented employees and our commitment to serving customers."

Anderson, who is credited with increasing Best Buy's annual revenue from $17.7 billion in fiscal 2002 to $40 billion in fiscal 2008, is retiring effective June 24. He will be replaced by Brian J. Dunn, the company's president and chief operating officer who started as an associated at the consumer electronics firm in 1985.

Technology spending continues to drop though consumer confidence increased to its highest level in seven months, according to a survey by CNET and the Consumer Electronics Association. The jury is out whether this a trend or whether prices have gotten too good to ignore.

Wall Street, which is constantly worried about the state of the consumer, cheered the news sending shares of Best Buy up almost 11 percent in pre-market trading.
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