U.S. consumer electronics chain Best Buy Co. Inc. (Minneapolis, MN, U.S.) said quarterly profit rose sharply as the recent year-end holiday season drove demand for computers, CDs, flat-panel TVs, and home office goods.
The retailer also forecast better-than-expected earnings for the current year, and its shares climbed in trading before the stock market opened.
Best Buy, investing heavily on improving customer service and staff expertise to protect itself from rival mass discounters such as Wal-Mart Stores Inc., said profit in the fourth-quarter ended March 1, 2004 was U.S. $469 million, or $1.42 a share.
A year ago, its profit was $378 million, or $1.16 a share. Analysts' average estimate was for a profit of $1.39 a share—which was the top end of the retailer's $1.34 to $1.39 forecast range.
For the current fiscal year, Best Buy expects earnings per share in the range of $2.80 to $2.93. Analysts, on average, were expecting a profit of $2.79, according to Reuters Research.
For the first quarter, Best Buy said it expects earnings in the range of $0.30 to $0.35 cents, with sales at stores open at least a year up 7 percent to 9 percent.
Analysts were expecting first-quarter earnings of $0.28 per share, according to Reuters Research (Reuters)
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