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Best Buy Reports Flat Holiday Sales

MINNEAPOLIS — Best Buy reported flat comp sales and a 1.2 percent dip in revenue domestically for the holiday selling season.

The retailer generated $9.9 billion in revenue for the period, which encompassed the nine weeks ending Jan. 5.

Online sales rose 10 percent to $1.1 billion in the U.S., buoyed by increased site traffic. Indeed, Best Buy said its e-commerce site was among the topthree most visited on Thanksgiving and Black Friday according to ComScore, and ranked third in visits on Cyber Monday according to Experian.

On the product side, comp sales grew for mobile phones, tablets, e-readers and major appliances, with the latter increasing 10.7 percent.

Conversely, comps declined for TVs, computing, and pre-recorded music and video. The latter category fell 17.8 percent, the catchall CE category fell 7 percent and comps for services declined 3.1 percent.

CE remains the largest category with 39 percent of the domestic revenue mix, followed by computing and mobile phones, which account for 36 percent of U.S. revenue.

Internationally, revenue rose 2.2 percent to $2.9 billion and comps fell 6.4 percent during the period.

“Our holiday selling strategy, backed by a compelling assortment, increased employee training and price match policy, allowed us to deliver these results,” said Best Buy president/CEO Hubert Joly. “While it will be a journey with ups and downs, we are focused on becoming an increasingly effective multichannel retailer and engaging with the tens of millions of consumers who shop us online and instore.”

In a research note, Janney retail analyst David Strasser said Best Buy’s holiday results were better than expected and that the stabilization is a hopeful sign following several quarters of comp declines.

“We believe Best Buy is now ready to focus on structural initiatives that it highlighted at its analyst day,” he observed. “We anticipate the company will substantially reduce headcount and expenses in coming months, giving them opportunity to effectively invest in pricing and services.”

Best Buy shares rose 2.8 percent to $12.55 in pre-market trading on news of the stabilizing sales. The improved results could also help boost founder and former chairman Dick Schulze’s efforts to lock in backers and make a formal offer to acquire the company before a Feb. 28 deadline.