Analysts Buoyed By Best Buy’s Boost

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Best Buy’s solid Q1 results exceeded its own and Wall Street’s forecasts, sending its shares up 15 percent and earning praise from retail analysts.

According to Credit Suisse’s Seth Sigman, the solid results provided “further evidence of the health of the category, the benefits from an improving online and competitive position, and its focus on expense management.”

Wolfe Research’s Scott Mushkin concurred. “Best Buy, in our opinion, is turning into an exceptionally run company and is finding additional revenue streams as well as further cost savings to continuously show better profit and return on investment capital” he wrote in a research note. “Moreover, the solid work of the management team is overcoming the secular challenges in the industry and our fears regarding the TV cycle.”

CEO Joly offered his own take. “Our Q1 performance reflects the strength of our customer value proposition and continued momentum in the execution of our strategy,” he said. “We are energized about our opportunities and the strategy we are pursuing. We believe we are uniquely positioned to help our customers in meaningful way with our combination of multichannel assets, including our online, store and in-home capabilities.”

Looking ahead, the No. 1 CE chain is forecasting full-year, companywide revenue growth of 2.5 percent, aided by an extra week in its fiscal calendar that falls during the frenetic fourth quarter.

Best Buy said strength in gaming and mobile helped drive a 1.1 percent increase in fiscal first-quarter revenue in the U.S.

Sales here hit $7.9 billion for the three months, ended April 30, and same-store sales increased 1.4 percent, representing the eighth comp gain in the last 11 quarters. Revenue was also buoyed by the late arrival of federal tax refund checks, CEO Hubert Joly said, but was partially off set by the closures of 12 bigbox and 40 Best Buy Mobile stores over the trailing 12 months.

Online sales climbed 22.5 percent in the U.S. to $1 billion, the company’s first billion-dollar digital haul during a non-holiday quarter. Best Buy attributed the gain to increased traffic and higher conversion rates, and noted that online sales now represent nearly 13 percent of total domestic revenue, up from 10.6 percent a year ago.

See also: Best Buy Revamping Mobile Departments

On the product front, top comp-sale gainers in the U.S. were gaming – likely driven by the March release of Nintendo’s Switch console – as well as connected home and computing. The latter enjoyed a better-than-expected lift from mobile, spurred perhaps by last month’s launch of the LG G6 and Samsung Galaxy S8 flagship phones, while tablets continued their decline.

Appliances, which now comprise 10 percent of Best Buy’s mix, enjoyed a 4.6 percent comp increase on top of a 14.3 percent gain last year, presumably aided by hhgregg’s store closures and Sears’ majap market-share declines.

From a profit perspective, appliances and home theater attained higher margin rates, but the benefits were partially off set by margin pressure in mobile and higher sales in the lower-margin gaming category, the company said.

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