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Did Apple iPhone Sales Help Best Buy's First-Quarter Earnings?

NEW YORK (TheStreet) -- Did Apple (AAPL - Get Report) iPhone sales give Best Buy (BBY - Get Report) a boost in the quarter? We'll know by Thursday morning when the electronics retailer reports its first-quarter earnings before the markets open.

Apple blew away earnings estimates when it reported its first-quarter earnings last month, fueled by a surge in iPhone sales. That number is likely to help Best Buy, which has been aggressively selling all things Apple even with its promotional pricing. Still Wall Street expects the Richfield, Minn.-based company to earn 20 cents a share, down 39% from a year ago, on revenue of $9.206 billion, down 2% from last year's quarter, according to Thomson Reuters.

Best Buy's same-store sales are expected to fall 0.8% for the quarter, according to Thomson Reuters. That compares to comp expectations at video game specialty retailer GameStop (GME) of 8.2%. GameStop also reports earnings on Thursday. On the other side, comps at RadioShack (RSH) are expected to drop 9.1% when the company reports earnings on June 9, according to Thomson Reuters.

Best Buy had laid out a plan at its 2012 Investor Day to realize roughly $725 million in cost savings across its roughly 1,000 stores in North America. The company said during first-quarter earnings in February that total cost savings had reached $765 million. As a result the company had decided to boost its overall cost cutting target to $1 billion, with additional cost savings to come from the "optimization" of returns, replacements and damages as well as logistics and supply chain.

That said, tough competition during the holiday season hurt Best Buy's same-store sales and margins in the first quarter as the company looked to compete on price with the likes of Amazon (AMZN) and Walmart (WMT). Due to the cost reductions, Best Buy was still able to report quarterly profit that exceeded analysts' expectations. Best Buy said that the biggest portion of first-quarter revenue came from computing and mobile phones categories.

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Best Buy shares were trading up 1.6% to $25.06 on Wednesday afternoon, however the stock has fallen 37% this year.

Here's what Wall Street is saying about the company's first quarter.

Michael Lasser, UBS (Neutral; $29 PT)

We think BBY's performance recovered a bit in 1Q after a really tough holiday. We forecast a -1% dom. comp decline and -80 bps of domestic GM contraction, leading to $0.20 of EPS (vs. the consensus of $0.19). While it will take some time for the market to become re-engaged in BBY's story like it was last year, a stable quarter could help the narrative. Yet, recent history suggests that the company is likely to set a low bar for 2Q, particularly as it still contends with the impact from the changes to its mobile warranty and credit card agreement. In the last few periods, these factors & BBY's pricing investments have largely offset its Renew Blue savings. If it can produce greater balance between these forces, it would help to provide a stronger base for the stock.

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