Earnings: Best Buy

Best Buy Posts 22 Percent Rise In Earnings

MINNEAPOLIS- (AP)- Best Buy Co. Inc. (BBY), the nation's largest consumer electronics retailer, said Tuesday that second-quarter earnings rose 22 percent on a 13 percent increase in revenue.

The latest results beat Wall Street expectations, but one analyst said growth in same-store sales was slower than expected. Best Buy left its full-year guidance unchanged.

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Best Buy shares dropped $1.33, or 2.8 percent, to $46.44 in premarket trading.

Richfield-based Best Buy said it earned $230 million, or 47 cents per share, for the three months ended Aug. 26 compared with $188 million, or 37 cents a share a year ago.

Revenue rose to $7.6 billion from $6.7 billion a year ago.

Analysts polled by Thomson Financial were expecting 44 cents per share on revenue of almost $7.54 billion.

Best Buy said it expects to earn $2.65 to $2.80 per share for the full year. Analysts are expecting $2.80 per share on revenue of $35 billion.

One key measure was a little weaker than analysts may have been looking for. Sales at stores open at least 14 months rose 3.7 percent from the same period a year ago, with a 9.3 percent gain at Canadian stores offsetting a 3 percent gain at U.S. stores. Credit Suisse analyst Gary Balter wrote on Monday that Wall Street expected comparable-store sales of 4 percent to 4.5 percent.

Best Buy said its comparable-store sales gains were driven by high-end televisions, notebook computers, gaming and computer services. Sales declined for older televisions, music and desktop computers.

Investors have been watching retailers closely for comments about whether consumers are worrying about the economy and trimming their purchases.

Earnings above expectations "would help the stock, but the comments on the future at this uncertain time are more important," Balter wrote.

While concerns about the broader economy persist, Balter wrote that falling prices should spur customers to buy high-end televisions, with extra motivation coming from new game systems from Nintendo and Sony Corp (SNE). later this year. And Microsoft Corp.'s (MSFT) new Vista computer operating system may catch the end of Best Buy's fourth quarter in early 2007, boosting computer sales.

"The product cycle is about as good as (Best Buy) could ask for," he wrote.

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