Best Buy Bounces, But Not Enough (BBY, RSH, GME, AMZN, WMT, AAPL)

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Electronics retailer Best Buy Co. Inc. (NYSE: BBY) reported first quarter results this morning that were better than expected and the company’s shares are getting a much-needed bounce. The company reported adjusted EPS of $0.72 above an estimate of $0.59. Revenue totaled $11.61 billion, also above the consensus estimate of $11.5 billion.

Besides competing with smaller national rivals like RadioShack Corp. (NYSE: RSH) and GameStop Corp. (NYSE: GME), Best Buy has to slug it out with retailers Inc. (NASDAQ: AMZN), Wal-Mart Stores Inc. (NYSE: WMT), and direct sellers like Apple Inc. (NASDAQ: AAPL).

And while Best Buy touts its increases in sales of mobile phones and other portable devices, it also notes:

Areas of comparable store sales growth in the Domestic segment included tablets and mobile phones within the Computing & Mobile Phones revenue category, eReaders within the Consumer Electronics revenue category and Appliances. These increases were more than offset by comparable store sales declines primarily in notebooks within the Computing and Mobile Phones revenue category, gaming within the Entertainment revenue category, and digital imaging and televisions within the Consumer Electronics revenue category. The Domestic segment online channel revenue grew 20 percent compared to the prior-year period.

Selling more cheaper devices does not make up for lost sales in pricier items, unless a retailer can sell an enormous number. Best Buy can’t do that because there’s simply too much competition from wireless carriers, other retailers, and direct sales.

The company reiterated its full-year adjusted EPS guidance of $3.50-$3.80, in-line with the consensus estimate of $3.59. But weak international sales and declining same-store sales mean that Best Buy will be forced to close more stores, which will hurt revenues and ultimately profits unless the company can really figure out a way to boost its online sales. The outlook is probably not as rosy as the company would like us to think.

Shares are up about 1.6% in the pre-market, but were up as much as 6% at one point. Current price is $18.43 in a 52-week range of $17.53-$32.85. The 52-week low was set yesterday.

Paul Ausick