Good, Better, Best Buy

Investors seem to have quite an appetite for retail stocks today. Although many of those stocks don't seem to have anything new going for them today other than investors' overall optimism for the industry, Best Buy (NYSE: BBY  ) happened to report second-quarter earnings that certainly didn't dampen positive sentiments.

Best Buy's fiscal second-quarter net income increased 22% to $230 million, or $0.47 per share. Revenues increased 13% to $7.6 billion. Same-store sales increased 3.7% versus a 3.5% increase in comps this time last year. TVs continue to be a popular item, but Best Buy said a 50-basis-point decrease in gross profit was the result of increased promotions for DVDs and notebook computers. It continues to work to control costs and improved selling, general, and administrative expenses by 90 basis points.

It seems the best may be yet to come for Best Buy this year, seeing as how it does a great majority of its business during the latter part of the year. (The company said 60% of its sales and earnings are ahead of it.) Furthermore, Best Buy waxed enthusiastic about certain upcoming evens that should drive more customer traffic, such as Microsoft's (Nasdaq: MSFT  ) launch of its new operating system, Vista, as well as the arrival of "two gaming platforms" in November. (One of these is Sony's (NYSE: SNE  ) PlayStation 3, of course, and it's a little less exciting given recent word that it's not going to be released in terribly impressive quantities in time for the holiday season.)

Best Buy reiterated its fiscal 2007 guidance for earnings of $2.65 to $2.80 per share, and several months ago, a company simply standing by its guidance as opposed to upping it would have sent investors into a tailspin. However, it seems investors are in a rather forgiving mood today. A quick glance at some of the retail stocks I track says to me it's party time in many investors' minds, for today at least.

I can't say I'm bearish on Best Buy. I do think highly of its customer-centric approach to business and I feel it's got a lot more going for it than retail electronics competitors like CircuitCity (NYSE: CC  ) or RadioShack (NYSE: RSH  ) . Meanwhile, David Gardner has strong feelings about Best Buy, which he recommended for Motley Fool Stock Advisor subscribers way back in December 2003; he considers it one of his "evergreen" picks, which, as you might imagine, is a dependable long-term stock.

It's not unreasonable that investors have positive sentiments on Best Buy at the moment, but some investors may certainly get cold feet at the fact that it's got a P/E of 21, which is about in line with its earnings increases over the last couple years. While Best Buy is a solid company for the long term, it's approaching the point where its stock is getting a premium price tag.

For more on Best Buy, see the following Foolish articles:

Best Buy is aStock Advisorrecommendation. Microsoft has been recommended byMotley Fool Inside Value.

Alyce Lomax does not own shares of any of the companies mentioned. The Fool's disclosure policy looks even better in high definition.


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