Updated from 10:49 a.m. EDTBest Buy ( BBY) shares surged Thursday after the company exceeded Wall Street's forecasts with its fourth-quarter earnings report and provided a better-than-expected outlook for the next year. The Minneapolis-based electronics retailer reported net earnings of $570 million, or $1.35 a share, falling from a year-ago profit of $737 million, or $1.71 a share. Excluding restructuring and impairment charges, Best Buy said it had a profit of $1.61 a share. Revenue rose 10% from the year-ago quarter to $14.72 billion, Best Buy said, even as same-store sales fell 4.9% during the three-month period. On average, analysts were looking for a profit of $1.40 a share on revenue of $14.82 billion, according to a poll conducted by Thomson Reuters. Best Buy shares rallied $4.21, or 12.6%, to close at $37.67. "We prepared for reduced consumer spending, and we were pleased when the quarter finished stronger than it began," said Brad Anderson, chief executive officer and vice chairman of Best Buy. Best Buy greatly benefitted from the failure of its main competitor Circuit City, which announced liquidation plans in January before closing all of its stores earlier this month. Best Buy said that as of Jan. 31, its domestic market share grew year over year by approximately 1.2 percentage points, to nearly 22%. Looking to the company's next fiscal year, Best Buy's CFO Jim Muehlbauer said the company will "continue making improvements to our capabilities and cost structure as we prepare for a wide variety of scenarios in consumer demand."
The retailer expects full-year revenue to be in a range of $46.5 billion to $48.5 billion and for earnings fall between $2.50 and $2.90 a share. Wall Street is currently forecasting earnings of $2.47 a share on sales of $48.04 billion. "We expect consumer spending to remain challenging in fiscal 2010, and the complex mix of external factors that will influence their behavior makes forecasting the future increasingly difficult," Muehlbauer said, adding that Best Buy will only open 65 net new stores in the coming year while same-store sales will be flat to down 5%. Among other retailers that sell consumer electronics, RadioShack ( RSH) ended up 3.3%, and Wal-Mart ( WMT) tacked on 2.1%. GameStop ( GME), meanwhile, slid 2.4%.