Why Wall Street Wants More From Best Buy

Best Buy Co. Inc. (NYSE: BBY) announced on Thursday its revenue results for the holiday season, and gave its outlook for the coming fiscal year. Despite positive news from this nine-week period, investors appeared pessimistic on the future, given a more conservative outlook.

Enterprise revenue for the nine weeks ended January 3 was $11.4 billion, up 2.1% from the same period in the previous year. The Domestic segment reported $10.1 billion in sales, and International reported $1.2 billion. Domestic comparable sales increased 2.6%, excluding the benefit of mobile phone installment billing.

Comparable online sales grew 13.4% from the previous year. This was driven by higher conversion rates and increased traffic.

However, all this good news from the holiday sales was not enough for investors after hearing about the outlook for the fiscal year 2016, which begins in February.

The company expects there to be external pressures that are driving structural industry changes, such as deflationary pricing, declining demand for extended warranties and exchange rate volatility. In an effort to win out in the long run, Best Buy plans to invest now. As a result it will make incremental investments in growth initiatives, beginning as soon as the first quarter, that will put year-over-year pressure on the company’s operating income rate.

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Sharon McCollam, Best Buy’s chief accounting officer and chief financial officer, also commented on Best Buy’s outlook:

Therefore, we are currently expecting enterprise comparable sales in the first half of FY16, excluding the estimated impact of installment billing, to be flat to negative low-single digits and the non-GAAP operating income rate to be down approximately 30 to 50 basis points — reflecting a more modest sales environment and the impact of our incremental investments and SG&A inflation.

Goldman Sachs analyst Matthew J. Fassler suggests that this guidance is more on the conservative side. Basically, he stated, the company took a guarded view for the first half of 2015, considering the drivers of holiday sales would lessen as the novelty of product introductions faded. Fassler noted that Best Buy has often guided conservatively.

In late Thursday morning’s trading, shares of Best Buy were down more than 13% at $34.56. The stock has a consensus analyst price target of $41.48 and a 52-week trading range of $22.15 to $40.03.

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