Best Buy Co. (BBY), the world’s largest consumer-electronics retailer, reported a $10 million loss for its fiscal third quarter after weaker-than-expected sales by established stores.
The net loss in the three months ended Nov. 3 was 3 cents a share, compared with net income of $156 million, or 42 cents, a year earlier, the Richfield, Minnesota-based retailer said today in a statement. Excluding some items, profit was 3 cents a share. Analysts projected 12 cents, the average of 16 estimates in a Bloomberg survey.
What's worse than the miss is the forward guidance, which is frankly terrible. Same-store sales declined 4.3% which is even worse than it first appears as that includes the "back to school" period.
Forward cash-flow guidance was dropped to a range that implies (on the corners) a nearly 50% decline, which if true would likely prove catastrophic to the company.
Honestly, I don't know why Best Buy exists any more. I know retailers garf about "showrooming" (looking and then buying on Amazon) but it's not just that -- it's also that the company literally has nothing in stock that I'd like to buy and their store help is, in my opinion, nothing more than a set of gatekeepers to prevent shoplifting.
An example: Not all that long ago I was interested in picking up a "midrange" set of earbuds. Something around $100 or so. I did some research online and figured out more-or-less what I wanted, then looked at what was allegedly available on BestBuy.com.
Unfortunately what was there (and visible online) wasn't in the store. In fact all that was in the store were products I didn't want in that category. Worse, the shelf display was so badly organized that it took me several minutes to be sure they didn't have it!
That's not the first time that I've had that happen, and it*****es me off when it does.
My experience with the store employees isn't very good either. I realize it's difficult to employ knowledgeable people at the salary offered, but I have too-often overheard utter crap being spewed by one of their floor people to a customer attempting to make a purchase decision. That may or may not have resulted in a sale for that particular customer. It is assured, however, that if the customer ever figures out that you were bull****ting him and he bought based on your truth-stretching he'll never come back to have his wallet assaulted a second time!
The other big problem they have, and always have had, is their insane mark-up on computer and other electronic accessories. It's one thing to overpay by $50 or so for a computer; you at least get to play with it before you buy it and that has value.
It's another to be rooked out of $50 for a $5 cable. I'd literally rather pay UPS $30 of that to overnight the cable to me from Amazon, simply because it*****es me off when someone is that blatant at attempting to rob you.
The stock is off about 5% in the premarket; back in 2010 this was a nearly-$50 stock and now trades for under $13. The value destruction that has taken place as the company has simply refused to align its retail operations in a form and fashion that actually attract customers continues to be demonstrated in their relentless slide; at this rate in a couple of years they'll pull a Circuit City and it will be "lights out."
Disclosure: There are some turds that ought to be flushed and this is one of them; no position.
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