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Best Buy Smashes Q3 Estimates as Online Sales Rocket 174%, Comps 23%

By Rhian Hunt - Nov 24, 2020 at 9:27AM

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The company's CEO says e-commerce was the key to the company's success.

Electronics retailer Best Buy ( BBY 1.31% ) reported its third-quarter fiscal 2021 results Tuesday morning, delivering revenue, earnings per share (EPS), and comparable sales, or comps, metrics that significantly overshot Wall Street consensus estimates. According to Zacks Equity Research, the company's adjusted EPS of $2.06 delivered an approximate 17% surprise above analyst average forecasts of $1.76, while revenue of $11.85 billion topped the consensus $11.02 billion by 7.5%.

The truly scorching growth, however, came in Best Buy's comparable-sales metrics. Enterprise comparable sales, rather than growing 13.8% for the quarter as analysts expected, jumped 23%, nearly double the forecast rate. Online sales exploded by 174% year over year. While mobile phone sales fell, home theater, computing, and appliance sales saw strong expansion, with appliance comps soaring 40.1% over the quarter ending Oct. 31, compared to a 1.5% loss in comps for the same period last year.

A man and woman inspecting appliances in a store.

Image source: Getty Images.

CEO Corie Barry said Best Buy's growth resulted from the company's "unique capabilities, including our supply chain expertise, flexible store operating model and ability to shift quickly to digital." According to Barry, lockdowns and lifestyle changes prompted by COVID-19 drove the "clearly elevated demand" that is boosting the company's sales.

Best Buy's positive results, while well above analyst expectations, are not completely unexpected given economic conditions. While it's possible the company's growth will become lackluster again after the pandemic, Corie Barry is sticking to the major inventory, training, e-commerce, and pricing changes introduced by former CEO Hubert Joly, which helped rescue the company from its previous doldrums. 

Meteoric increases can't be sustained forever, but with COVID-19 still active and many consumers planning more appliance and electronics purchases, there's still room for upward movement -- though Best Buy didn't provide holiday guidance.

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