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Best Buy Tops Q1 Earnings Forecast as Digital Sales Rocket; Confirms Cash Dividend

Best Buy said its transition to curbside pickup helped online sales rise by a staggering 155% from last year, offsetting reduced foot traffic and partial store closures and driving first quarter profits.

Best Buy Co. Inc  (BBY) - Get Best Buy Co., Inc. Report posted stronger-than-expected first-quarter earnings Thursday while suspending its full-year profit guidance, as a surge in online electronics sales offset reduce foot traffic and partial store closures during the peak of the coronavirus pandemic.

Best Buy said non-GAAP earnings for the three months ending on May 2 were pegged at 67 cents per share, down 34.3% from the same period last year but firmly ahead of the Street consensus forecast of 43 cents per share. Group revenues, Best Buy said, fell 6.8%, but at $8.56 billion were again ahead of analysts' forecasts.

Online sales, Best Buy said, rocketed by 155.4% from last year as customers took advantage of curbside pickups as lockdown orders closed stores around the country to traditional foot traffic, while comparable physical store sales slumped 5.3%.

The group also confirmed a cash dividend of 55 cents per share but scrapped its full-year earnings forecast.

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“The COVID-19 pandemic has changed the way we work, learn, care for ourselves and, importantly, connect with each other. Against that backdrop, our purpose has never been more relevant: to enrich lives through technology," said CEO Corie Barry. "It is because of that purpose that we were, in virtually every jurisdiction with a stay-at-home order in place, designated an essential retailer because of the products and services we offer.”

“As challenging as the current situation is, I am certain Best Buy will remain a strong, vibrant company that is well-positioned to deliver on our purpose and thrive in a new and different environment," Barry added. "In fact, we have taken the opportunity to accelerate aspects of our strategy as this environment has quickly shifted the ways in which customers interact with retailers,

Best Buy shares were marked 3% lower in early trading immediately following the earnings release at $79.12 each.

Best Buy said it has around 700 of is U.S. locations up-and-running under strict social distancing guidelines, but is evaluating the expansion of store hours, as well as eliminating the 'appointment only' model at some of its stores.