U.S. comps were fueled by low triple-digit growth in tablets, a 20 percent spike in mobile phone comps, a 13 percent increase in wireless and broadband subscriptions, and a 10 percent hike in major appliances. The latter was due to Best Buy's store labor model for majaps and "promotional enhancements," CFO Jim Muehlbauer said on an earnings call, and the company outperformed the overall marketplace with greater share gains in the fourth quarter than in the third, and online holiday sales that outpaced industry growth 2-to-1. Yet the comp gains were more than offset by same-store sales declines in TVs, notebooks, digital imaging and gaming, which reflected general industry trends, Muehlbauer said.
Excluding restructuring charges, adjusted gross profit dollars increased 3 percent in the U.S. to $3 billion, but represented a rate decline of 40 basis points due to a larger mix of lower-margin small and midsize promotional TVs.
For the full fiscal year, the company lost $1.2 billion, while total revenue rose 1.9 percent to $50.7 billion and comp store sales slipped 1.7 percent.
In the U.S., online sales rose 18 percent, mobile comps increased 13 percent, and subscriptions were up 11 percent. Best Buy estimated it gained total market share during the 12-month period.
Best Buy has also changed its fiscal year to end the Saturday nearest the end of January, effective with the current quarter.
Looking ahead to the current fiscal year, Best Buy expects total company revenue to remain flat at $50 billion to $51billion, reflecting comp declines of 2 percent to 4 percent. In the U.S. it is forecasting e-commerce growth of 15 percent, growth in services of 10 percent, and is targeting wireless and broadband subscription growth at 15 percent.