Best Buy Poised to Win With Apple iPad

NEW YORK ( TheStreet) -- Best Buy ( BBY) will sell Apple's ( AAPL) iPad in most of its stores when the device launches on Saturday.

Apple confirmed in a release on Monday that the electronics retailer will be its sole iPad launch partner. However, Best Buy will only receive 15 devices at 675 of its stores and only 11 will be available to purchase, according to reports -- and iPads can't be ordered through bestbuy.com.
Apple iPad

Best Buy's price target was also upped on Monday by Piper Jaffray to $53 from $51, following its fourth-quarter earnings release last week.

"While economic recovery is starting to be assumed for other retailers, we believe skepticism remains on Best Buy's sales and gross margin rates," Piper Jaffray wrote in a note.

UBS also raised its price target on the stock to $52 from $50, saying the stock is a second-half, fiscal 2011 story. Best Buy will benefit from ESPN's 3-D channel, as well as other long-term growth trends, UBS wrote in a note.

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On Friday, Best Buy reported a 37% jump in fourth-quarter profit to $779 million, or $1.86 a share, compared with $570 million, or $1.38 in the year-ago period. Analysts were calling for earnings of $1.79 a share.

Revenue jumped 12% to $16.55 billion from $14.72 billion, while same-store sales rose 7%. Best Buy received a boost from sales of notebook computers, flat-panel televisions and mobile phones.

U.S. sales grew 11% to $12.6 billion, while international sales shot up 15% to $4 billion.

Best Buy also plans on opening its first store in the U.K. in May, with about five more slated for this year.

Despite all this, shares of Best Buy are slipping 0.7% to $42.84 in afternoon trading.

-- Reported by Jeanine Poggi in New York.

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