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Best Buy's Bad Year

WESTCHESTER COUNTY, NY (TheStreet) -- Best Buy (BBY - Get Report) reported a defining quarter, but you wouldn't know it from reading most of the business media coverage that followed.

In terms of the electronic retailer's grinding disappointment, there are three essential elements at play: 1) they no longer have to deal with competition from Circuit City, which declared bankruptcy in 2008 and wound down their operations in the two years that followed. Business was supposed to get easier for Best Buy...not harder. 2) They cut prices, but not by choice. Competition has cornered Best Buy. Amazon (AMZN - Get Report), Wal-Mart (WMT - Get Report) and Target (TGT - Get Report) are all offering either low prices, free shipping or both. Best Buy has no room to maneuver. 3) Best Buy kept their full-year numbers in tact. Considering, this is a stretch at best.

The Associated Press and CNNMoney, however, only give passing mention to competition. They mention none by name. That's quite a hairy oversight. Going up against Amazon and Wal-Mart is a whole lot worse than---well, just about anything. The AP deigned to mention the full-year numbers going unscathed, but didn't put it in the proper context.

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Reuters, by contrast, did a great job. They mention Circuit City and competition by name, accurately terming it "cutthroat." That speaks to Best Buy's ongoing reality. This was not a one-quarter fluke. With that in mind, Reuters arched an eyebrow at the full-year numbers, noting that "despite" everything that happened, they kept the numbers the same.

At the time of publication, Fuchs had no positions in any of the stocks mentioned in this column.

Marek Fuchs was a stockbroker for Shearson Lehman Brothers and a money manager before becoming a journalist who wrote The New York Times' "County Lines" column for six years. He also did back-up beat coverage of The New York Knicks for the paper's Sports section for two seasons and covered other professional and collegiate sports. He has contributed frequently to many of the Times' other sections, including National, Metro, Escapes, Style, Real Estate, Arts & Leisure, Travel, Money & Business, Circuits and the Op-Ed Page.

For his "Business Press Maven" column on how business and finance are covered by the media, Fuchs was named best business journalist critic in the nation by the Talking Biz website at The University of North Carolina School of Journalism and Mass Communication. Fuchs is a frequent speaker on the business media, in venues ranging from National Public Radio to the annual conference of the Society of American Business Editors and Writers.

Fuchs appreciates your feedback; click here to send him an email.

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