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Best Buy reports 3rd-quarter loss

Associated Press Modified: November 20, 2012 at 5:45 pm •  Published: November 20, 2012
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NEW YORK (AP) — Struggling Best Buy Co. reported another dismal quarter on Tuesday, recording a third quarter loss and continued sales slump just as the crucial holiday season revs up.

Adjusted for restructuring charges, it earned 3 cents per share, well below analysts' expectations. The news sent shares down 13 percent to their lowest level in more than a decade.

"Best Buy's third-quarter financial performance was clearly unsatisfactory," said CEO Hubert Joly, the turnaround expert tapped to lead Best Buy in August.

The electronics chain is trying to reverse a years long decline in its business as competition from online stores and discounters increases, and consumers' tastes shift from more profitable items like TVs and desktop computers toward less profitable smartphones and tablets.

In addition, it's facing a growing number of consumers who are "showrooming," going to Best Buy stores to check out merchandise but buying it elsewhere. That is a challenge for the retailer.

Meanwhile, co-founder and former chairman Richard Schulze is mulling a bid for the company.

Last week at an analyst meeting, Joly outlined a plan to improve results via beefing up customer service and revamping stores while at the same time cutting overhead and supply-chain costs. He has also restructured top management and brought in a new CFO.

"The results we are reporting today only strengthen our sense of urgency and purpose," Joly added.

But the quarterly results show Best Buy has a long way to go to turn things around.

The Minneapolis company reported a loss of $10 million, or 3 cents per share, for the three months ended Nov. 3. That compares with net income of $156 million, or 42 cents per share in the prior year period.

Excluding one-time items, earnings totaled 3 cents per share. Analysts expected earnings of 13 cents per share, according to FactSet.

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