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Best Buy Misses Q4 Sales Forecasts, Sees Uncertainty In Tech Demand Trends

Best Buy said that while demand for tech products remains high, there is a "high level of uncertainty related to the impacts of the COVID-19 pandemic that makes it difficult to predict how sustainable these trends will be."

Best Buy Co. Inc.  (BBY)  posted stronger-than-expected fourth quarter earnings Thursday, but missed sales forecasts and cautioned that pandemic uncertainty could alter demand trends in the months ahead.

Best Buy said non-GAAP earnings for the three months ending in January came in at $3.48 per share, up 20% from the same period last year and 6 cents ahead of the Street consensus forecast of $3.42 per share. Group revenues, Best Buy said, rose 11.4% to $16.937 billion, just shy of analysts' forecasts of an $17.1 billion tally.

Same-store sales, Best Buy said, rose 12.6% from last year, missing the Refinitiv forecast of a 14.4% gain. Looking into the current financial year, Best Buy said it sees comp sales in the range of -2% to +1%

“During the fourth quarter, our teams delivered an exceptional customer experience in a safe environment,” said CEO Corie Barry. “They showed amazing flexibility managing extraordinary volume in a dynamic environment. Online sales grew almost 90% to a record $6.7 billion and made up 43% of our total Domestic sales."

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"We managed through the impacts of the pandemic in a way that allowed us to accelerate many aspects of our strategy in order to thrive in what we believe to be a new and forever changed retail environment that is even more digital and puts customers entirely in control of their shopping experience," Barry said. "In FY22, we are accelerating investments to build on that momentum and push even faster in our evolution to a digital-first mindset." 

Best Buy shares were marked 5.25% lower in pre-market trading immediately following the earnings release to indicate an opening bell price of $107.50. 

Last week, U.S. retail sales soared past Wall Street forecasts, rising 5.3% from last year to a collective $568.2 billion as consumers snapped-up post holiday deals with government stimulus checks and revived market concerns for faster near-term inflation. December's gain, however, was a disappointing 1% decline from the 2019 total.