Best Buy reports lower than expected December sales

Best Buy on Friday reported weaker than expected revenue for the five weeks ended December 31st, 2011. The company noted $8.4 billion in revenue, which was flat compared to the same period last year but included a comparable store sales decline of 1.2%. The company’s international segment generated $1.9 billion in revenue, a 1.7% decrease and a 4.3% drop off in store sales. Its domestic segment generated $6.5 billion in revenue, which was up 0.4% from the same period last year but it also represented a 0.4% drop in store sales. Read on for more.

“Based on our performance in December we continue to expect to achieve our annual guidance, despite customer traffic that was lower than expected until the last week before Christmas, which resulted in December revenue that was slightly lower than our expectations,” Best Buy CEO Brian Dunn said. “The actions we have taken during the year to improve our performance online and in key connectable products such as tablets, eReaders and smart phones continued to deliver strong growth in December.”

Cell phones helped drive domestic revenue and mobile-related store sales increased 20% over December of last year. Domestic tablet and eReader store sales jumped into the low triple-digits and domestic online channel sales increased 26%. Best Buy’s full press release follows below.

Best Buy Reports December Revenue of $8.4 Billion

Continued strong growth online and in connected products including mobile phones, tablets and eReaders
Company reaffirms fiscal 2012 EPS guidance range

Fiscal 2012 December Revenue Summary
(U.S. dollars in billions)
  Revenue   Revenue % Change Fiscal Dec.
2012 
Comparable
Store Sales %
Change(1)
Fiscal Dec. 
2011 
Comparable
Store Sales %
Change(1)
Total company   $8.4 0.0% (1.2%) (4.0%)
Domestic segment   $6.5 0.4% (0.4%) (5.0%)
International segment   $1.9 (1.7%) (4.3%) (0.1%)

December Highlights

  • Domestic segment online channel sales increased 26 percent
  • Domestic segment tablets and eReaders comparable store sales each increased low triple-digits
  • Domestic segment mobile phones comparable store sales increased 20 percent

MINNEAPOLIS, Jan. 6, 2012 — Best Buy Co., Inc. (NYSE: BBY), a leading multi-channel global retailer and developer of technology products and services, today reported revenue for the five weeks ended Dec. 31, 2011, of $8.4 billion, which was flat compared to the prior-year period and included a comparable store sales decline of 1.2 percent.

“We built off of share gains in the third quarter to deliver December sales that we believe compared favorably to the retail CE industry,” said Brian J. Dunn, CEO of Best Buy. “Based on our performance in December we continue to expect to achieve our annual guidance, despite customer traffic that was lower than expected until the last week before Christmas, which resulted in December revenue that was slightly lower than our expectations. The actions we have taken during the year to improve our performance online and in key connectable products such as tablets, eReaders and smart phones continued to deliver strong growth in December. I want to thank our employees for their significant dedication to serving our customers during this key holiday period.”

The company’s Domestic segment generated $6.5 billion in revenue for fiscal December, an increase of 0.4 percent when compared with the prior-year period. The Domestic segment’s revenue performance was driven by the addition of new stores in the past 12 months, partially offset by a comparable store sales decline of 0.4 percent. Domestic segment areas of comparable store sales growth included tablets and mobile phones within the Computing & Mobile Phones revenue category, eReaders within the Consumer Electronics revenue category, and the Appliances revenue category. Tablets and eReaders each delivered low triple-digit comparable store sales gains during the month. Mobile phones had a 20 percent comparable store sales increase during the month, driven by strong smart phone sales. These increases were more than offset by comparable store sales declines in other areas, including gaming within the Entertainment revenue category and digital imaging within the Consumer Electronics revenue category. Gaming and digital imaging both experienced low double-digit declines in comparable store sales. The company noted that televisions experienced a mid single-digit comparable store sales decline within the Consumer Electronics revenue category. The company also noted that overall Domestic segment inventory levels finished fiscal December in line with its expectations.

The Domestic segment online channel delivered a 26 percent revenue increase compared to the prior-year period, driven by a strong traffic increase and momentum from share gains achieved in November.

The International segment’s fiscal December revenue totaled $1.9 billion, a decrease of 1.7 percent versus the prior-year period. The revenue decline was driven primarily by a comparable store sales decline of 4.3 percent and unfavorable fluctuations in foreign currency exchange rates, partially offset by the addition of new stores in the past 12 months. The International segment comparable store sales decline was driven by comparable store sales declines in our stores in Canada and Europe. Sales results for all countries in the International segment other than Canada are reported on a two-month lag.

Company Reaffirms Fiscal 2012 Annual EPS Guidance Range 
The company is confirming its annual adjusted diluted EPS guidance in the range of $3.35 to $3.65 as previously disclosed in its press release dated December 13, 2011. This guidance includes the estimated impact from fiscal 2012 share repurchases and excludes the gain on the sale of investments and previously announced charges, which are comprised of the purchase of CPW’s share of the Best Buy Mobile profit share agreement, a non-cash impairment charge to reflect the write-down of Best Buy Europe goodwill, restructuring charges (primarily associated with U.K. big-box store closures) and other related charges.

The company’s annual guidance reflects basic EPS loss calculated in accordance with accounting principles generally accepted in the U.S. (“GAAP”) in the range of ($3.52) to ($3.17). This loss is primarily driven by charges attributable to Best Buy outlined above which total approximately $2.6 billion in fiscal 2012. Please see table titled “Reconciliation of Non-GAAP Guidance” attached to this release for further details.

(1) Best Buy’s comparable store sales is comprised of revenue at stores, call centers, and Web sites operating for at least 14 full months as well as  revenue related to other comparable sales channels. Relocated, remodeled and expanded stores are excluded from the comparable store sales calculation until at least 14 full months after reopening. Acquired stores are included in the comparable store sales calculation beginning with the first full quarter following the first anniversary of the date of the acquisition. The portion of the calculation of the comparable store sales percentage change attributable to the International segment excludes the effect of fluctuations in foreign currency exchange rates. The method of calculating comparable store sales varies across the retail industry. As a result, Best Buy’s method of calculating comparable store sales may not be the same as other retailers’ methods.

Forward-Looking and Cautionary Statements:
This news release contains forward-looking statements within the meaning of the Private Securities Litigation Reform Act of 1995 as contained in Section 27A of the Securities Act of 1933 and Section 21E of the Securities Exchange Act of 1934 that reflect management’s current views and estimates regarding future market conditions, company performance and financial results, business prospects, new strategies, the competitive environment and other events. You can identify these statements by the fact that they use words such as “anticipate,” “believe,” “estimate,” “expect,” “intend,” “project,” “guidance,” “plan,” “outlook,” and other words and terms of similar meaning. These statements involve a number of risks and uncertainties that could cause actual results to differ materially from the potential results discussed in the forward-looking statements. Among the factors that could cause actual results and outcomes to differ materially from those contained in such forward-looking statements are the following: general economic conditions, changes in consumer preferences, credit market constraints, acquisitions and development of new businesses, divestitures, product availability, sales volumes, pricing actions and promotional activities of competitors, profit margins, weather, natural or man-made disasters, changes in law or regulations, foreign currency fluctuation, availability of suitable real estate locations, the company’s ability to react to a disaster recovery situation, the impact of labor markets and new product introductions on overall profitability, failure to achieve anticipated benefits of announced transactions and integration challenges relating to new ventures, consummation of the transaction with Carphone Warehouse Group plc and unanticipated costs associated with previously announced or future restructuring activities. A further list and description of these risks, uncertainties and other matters can be found in the company’s annual report and other reports filed from time to time with the Securities and Exchange Commission, including, but not limited to, Best Buy’s Annual Report on Form 10-K filed with the SEC on April 25, 2011. Best Buy cautions that the foregoing list of important factors is not complete, and any forward-looking statements speak only as of the date they are made, and Best Buy assumes no obligation to update any forward-looking statement that it may make.

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