NEW YORK – Best Buy put up some big holiday sales numbers Wednesday, more evidence that Americans are willing and able to spend.
A dire report from the U.S. Commerce Department this month on retail sales cast a pall over the sector, raising concerns that an extended period of elevated consumer confidence had ended abruptly. Other big retailers, like Walmart, also defied that government report with healthy year-end quarters.
But Best Buy has excelled in holding off the onslaught of online operators by building its own strong e-commerce presence, and also by leveraging the advantage of its physical stores.
The Richfield, Minnesota, company, posted per-share earnings of $2.72, beating last year’s fourth quarter’s $2.42. It also topped the $2.56 that analysts were expecting, as well as its own previous guidance. For the year, earnings per share came in at $5.32, surpassing last year’s $4.42.
The company earnings for the next fiscal year to be in the $5.45 to $5.65, which is roughly in line with the $5.49 that Wall Street has been projecting.
Shares in Best Buy jumped 15 percent at the opening bell Wednesday. The nation’s biggest consumer electronics retailer said comparable-stores sales, a key indicator of a company’s health, rose 3 percent in the fourth-quarter and 4.8 percent for the year, extending its streak to five years of growth.
Best Buy raised its quarterly dividend by 11 percent, to 50 cents per share.
The board of directors also approved a new $3 billion stock repurchase, replacing an existing authorization to repurchase $1.5 billion of the company’s shares.