I've always been impressed by the success of Motley Fool Stock Advisor selection Best Buy (NYSE: BBY ) over the years. When it comes to electronics, I'm more of an Internet shopper myself, but I regularly check out my local Best Buy to see what's available. And from a consumer's perspective, as well as an investor's, the company is clearly a step ahead of CircuitCity (NYSE: CC ) and most of the smaller electronics retailers.
When Best Buy's shares stumbled back in December after the company reported its third-quarter results, a number of Fools here in the office started digging into the company once again. I was one of them, but an unwillingness to part with any of my existing holdings kept me out of the shares. Too bad; December now looks like it was an opportune time to pick up some shares, since Best Buy's fourth-quarter results are anything but a disappointment.
The company's results were released Thursday morning, so you've probably seen the high-level summary already. Sales for the quarter were up 15%, gross and operating margins also increased, and diluted earnings per share from continuing operations rose 24%. Similar trends can be seen in the company's annual results for 2005, although the gains in revenue and earnings per share were slightly lower.
The rest of the company's results contain a few other points worth noting. Best Buy's balance sheet remains strong, with working capital growth in line with the growth that the rest of the business saw. In addition, the company's sales growth in its fourth quarter was consistently positive across its stores, website, services, and international operations. Finally, the company performed a small but well-timed share repurchase during the quarter while its shares were knocked down. If there's one thing I would quibble over, it's that the company attributed its sales gain to a higher average transaction size, rather than to a greater number of transactions. In the grand scheme of things, though, that's not a big deal.
There's no shock value here. Best Buy has been a very good company for a very long time, and it remains so. While I sometimes prefer fellow Stock Advisor picks Costco Wholesale (Nasdaq: COST ) and Amazon.com (Nasdaq: AMZN ) for some of my shopping, there are those times when I just can't get what I want from either one. In addition, many people like to ooh and ahh over their electronics before buying them, take them home and set them up immediately when they've made a decision, and avoid shipping charges in the process. If they don't care one way or the other, they can always order from Best Buy's website. When it comes to electronics, it's tough to find a reason not to like Best Buy.
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