Best Buy Recovered, but First Quarter Outlook Is Perilous

BestBuy storefront OK
BestBuy storefront OK

Best Buy Co. Inc. (NYSE: BBY) was supposed to report results last night, but that was also the deadline for the company's ousted founder to make a firm offer to acquire control of the firm. The offer did not arrive, but earnings did this morning. Best Buy reported fourth-quarter and fiscal year 2013 results before markets opened this morning.

For the quarter, the big-box retailer of electronics gear reported adjusted earnings per share (EPS) of $1.64 and $16.71 billion in revenues. In the same period a year ago, Best Buy reported EPS of $2.18 on revenue of $16.67 billion. Fourth-quarter results also compare to the Thomson Reuters consensus estimates for EPS of $1.54 and $16.34 billion in revenue.

On a GAAP basis, Best Buy posted a quarterly net EPS loss of $1.21, which includes a $2.42 per share benefit related to the "impact of goodwill impairments." In its last fiscal year, Best Buy reported a GAAP loss of $4.86 per share.

For the full year, Best Buy reported adjusted EPS of $2.62 on revenues of $49.62 billion, compared with adjusted EPS of $3.61 on revenues of $50.04 billion for fiscal year 2012. The consensus estimates called for full year EPS of $2.49 on revenues of $49.27 billion.

The company's CEO said:

It was a quarter that was driven, not given …. To build on this momentum in fiscal 2014, we remain intently focused on the two problems we have to solve: stabilizing and improving our comparable store sales and increasing profitability across our global businesses. We recognize, however, that fiscal 2014 is a year of transition and that further investment will be required to advance our Renew Blue transformation.

Same-store sales fell 0.8% globally, but the decline in the company's international segment totaled 6.6%. Online sales grew by 11.2% in the U.S. in the quarter, but that was less than half the growth in the same period a year ago.

The company's CFO said the store would not provide financial guidance for the 2014 fiscal year, but did note a few issues for the first quarter. First, a $0.14 hit to EPS as a result of an early Super Bowl; second, a less favorable product mix; third, a "carry-over effect" on marketing costs; fourth, the new price-matching program; and finally, timing and impact of capital and SG&A spending. All in all, the first quarter sounds like it will have a hard time living up to analysts' consensus estimate for EPS of $0.46 on revenues of $10.87 billion.

Shares are up about 6% in premarket trading, at $16.41 in a 52-week range of $11.20 to $27.95. Thomson Reuters had a consensus analyst price target of around $15.10 before today's results were announced. The share price came off that low on hopes of a buyout by founder Richard Schulze. Now what?

Filed under: 24/7 Wall St. Wire, Earnings, Retail, Services Tagged: BBY