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Best Buy's Q1 Results Fall Short Of Wall Street Expectations, Show Inflation's Bite

NEW YORK (AP) — Best Buy Co. posted first-quarter results that showed shoppers pulled back on spending, while higher costs ate into profits.

The nation's largest consumer electronics chain also on Tuesday cut its annual outlook, citing a deteriorating economic environment.

Best Buy was among a handful of big winners in the pandemic, as shoppers flocked to its store and website to buy equipment like laptops to create home offices to help them with remote work or cater to the needs of their children for virtual learning. But like many retailers, Best Buy is struggling with rising costs for everything from labor to shipping as supply chain backups hit companies worldwide. The electronics chain also had to navigate global chip shortages. Another round of COVID-19 lockdowns in China is only worsening the problem. And soaring fuel costs are hurting the bottom line.

Meanwhile, consumers' demand for electronics is cooling as they go back to the office and resume more normal lives. Inflation is also making shoppers scrutinize their purchases.

Best Buy CEO Corie Barry said in a statement that the company had expected this year's results to be weaker than last year as it lapped stimulus payments and other government support and planned for higher costs in its supply chain. But she noted that macro economic conditions worsened since it provided its financial outlook in early March, which resulted in its sales being slightly lower than its expectations. Those trends have continued into the second quarter and, as a result, it revised its sales and profitability expectations for the year.

Neil Saunders, managing director at GlobalData Retail, said given the multitude of challenges, Best Buy fared reasonably well. It noted that while Best Buy has suffered from out-of-stocks because of supply issues, it still has better availability than others, because of its size and its strong relationship with vendors. That has helped it retain customers and spending, he noted.

Still, Saunders said he is worried about the consumer psyche.

"Electronics are highly discretionary, big-ticket items," he said. "This puts them directly in the firing line of households looking to trim expenditure." He also noted that the general demand for electronics is also taking a hit from society returning to normality.

"People are home less, many have returned to the office and classroom, and leisure activities such as attending sports events and movies has risen," he added.

Best Buy, based in Richfield, Minnesota, reported fiscal first-quarter net income of $341 million, or $1.49 per share. Earnings, adjusted for amortization costs and restructuring costs, came to $1.57 per share.

The results fell short of Wall Street expectations. The average estimate of 11 analysts surveyed by Zacks Investment Research was for earnings of $1.59 per share.

But consumer electronics retailer posted revenue of $10.65 billion in the period, down 8.5% from the year-ago period. But revenue still topped topped analysts' forecasts. Nine analysts surveyed by Zacks expected $10.43 billion.

The company saw comparable sales decline across almost all categories, with the largest drivers being computing and home theater. The metric, a key measure of a retailer's health, measures sales in stores open at least a year.

Domestic online revenue was down 4.9% on a comparable basis, and as a percentage of total domestic revenue, online revenue was 30.9% versus 33.2% last year.

Best Buy expects full-year earnings in the range of $8.40 to $9 per share, with revenue in the range of $48.3 billion to $49.9 billion. Previously, it expected per-share results of $8.85 to $9.15 and revenue of $49.3 billion to $50.8 billion

Analysts expected $8.88 per share on $50.17 billion for the year.

Best Buy shares have declined 29% since the beginning of the year, while the S&P's 500 index has fallen 17%. The stock has decreased 37% in the last 12 months.

Shares fell $1 to $71.59 in premarket trading on Tuesday.

(© Copyright 2022 The Associated Press. All Rights Reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.)

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