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Why Best Buy Stock Lost 30% in March

By Demitri Kalogeropoulos – Apr 6, 2020 at 10:20AM

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A pause in retailing has investors worried about sharp sales declines.

What happened

Best Buy (BBY 5.86%) stock underperformed the market last month. Shares fell 30% compared to a 12.5% drop in the S&P 500, according to data provided by S&P Global Market Intelligence.

That slump added to significant declines so far in 2020, with the stock down 37% though early April.

A man and a woman shop for appliances.

Image source: Getty Images.

So what

Its position as a consumer-facing retailing business didn't help Best Buy during the aggressive social-distancing efforts that swept through Europe and North America last month. Investors fled most stocks in the industry on fears of a dramatic sales decline in the wake of COVID-19's spread. In fact, Best Buy effectively closed its stores to shoppers, choosing to move to a pickup-only selling model for the time being.

Now what

CEO Corie Barry and her team said on March 21 that sales were running "ahead of plan" through mid-March. But the shift in operating posture still convinced management to withdraw its fiscal year guidance while moving to preserve capital, including by fully drawing down its $1.25 billion revolving credit line.

That initiative gives the retailer plenty of flexibility to weather any temporary growth slowdown. But it isn't yet clear exactly how deep that economic slump will be, or when Best Buy will reopen its stores.

Demitrios Kalogeropoulos has no position in any of the stocks mentioned. The Motley Fool has no position in any of the stocks mentioned. The Motley Fool has a disclosure policy.

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Best Buy Co., Inc. Stock Quote
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