It's official: Best Buy
The sheer fact that the beginning of Best Buy's fourth-quarter news release includes a litany of items that are part of its "transformation strategy" should give potential investors chills. That implies the results were really ugly.
Best Buy reported a fourth-quarter loss of $1.7 billion, or $4.89 per share, compared to net income of $651 million, or $1.62 per share, this time last year. Restructuring charges savaged the bottom line.
Revenue increased 3% to $16.6 billion, but same-store sales decreased 2.4% from a 4.7% drop this time last year. Also, the results included an extra week, so the sales increase is far less heartening than it appears. And don't forget, these results reflect the all-important holiday quarter.
Best Buy has obviously reached critical condition. The big-box retailer plans to close 50 of its 1,100 stores and will let go 400 workers in the process. "Transformation" efforts will include opening small-box Best Buy Mobile stand-alone stores.
My colleague Rick Munarriz warned about Best Buy's dismal outlook last week, pointing out that an analyst's "neutral" rating certainly sounded a little too mild under the circumstances. Given today's tidings, indeed.
The common meme these days -- that online retailers like Amazon.com
Now, Best Buy is just as risky a stock as electronics peddlers Conn's
Although Best Buy now trades at just seven times forward earnings, it's no bargain; the forward multiples of RadioShack, Conn's, and hhgregg (nine, 14, and nine, respectively) simply make those electronics retailers look overpriced.
Right now, Best Buy reminds me of another very sad big-box story: Borders. I suspect more downer news and store closings out of Best Buy in the future. That's why I'm putting an underperform on Best Buy; you can track my CAPS record here. Although retail turnarounds are always possible, once the edge is lost, it's hard to get it back again.
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