Best Buy holiday sales fall, but online business shows promise

Arthur Vardaman of Madison, Miss., places a new television into the trunk of his car outside a Best Buy store in Jackson, Miss.
(Rogelio V. Solis / Associated Press)

Struggling electronics giant Best Buy Co. said holiday sales fell despite strong results online and in U.S. stores.

For the nine weeks ended Jan. 5, the Minneapolis-based retailer posted revenue of $12.8 billion, down from $12.9 billion in the same period a year earlier.

Sales at stores open at least a year, considered a key gauge of a retailer’s health, dropped 1.4%. International comparable stores sales plunged 6.4%, while domestic sales were flat.


Best Buy has been trying to implement a turnaround strategy as it combats increased competition from online retailers such as

Chief Executive Hubert Joly, who came aboard in August, said increased worker training and a holiday price match policy helped deliver a holiday season that was an improvement compared with the past several quarters.

“While it will be a journey of ups and downs, we are focused on becoming an increasingly effective multi-channel retailer and engaging with the tens of millions of consumers who shop us online and in-stores,” he said in a statement Friday.

One area of promise was online, where revenue rose 10% over the holidays. Best Buy said categories such as tablets, cellphones and e-readers enjoyed the strongest results while sales fell in televisions and entertainment.

Last year, Best Buy ousted its previous chief executive, Brian Dunn, after discovering he engaged in an inappropriate relationship with a female employee. Co-founder Richard Schulze then left the company after an investigation found he knew of Dunn’s relationship but failed to report it to the board. He has since made overtures to take over the company.

The mixed holiday results may prompt another takeover bid from Schulze, who has until the end of February to make an offer.


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