Best Buy Co, the top consumer electronics retailer, narrowed its full-year profit forecast on Friday after posting a 6.5 percent drop in December same-store sales during the worst U.S. holiday shopping season in nearly 40 years.
The retailer said it now expects profit of $2.50 to $2.70 a share for its fiscal 2009, which ends next month, with sales at stores open at least 14 months down 2 percent to 3 percent.
That compares with a lowered forecast of $2.30 to $2.90 a share in November, when Best Buy said the meltdown in financial markets had spurred “seismic” changes in consumer behavior.
Analysts expected profit of $2.59 a share for the year, according to Reuters Estimates.
Best Buy said total sales for the month ended Jan. 3 rose 4 percent from a year earlier to $7.5 billion, in line with expectations.
The Minneapolis-based chain has expanded sales of mobile phones and stepped up other product offerings to counter increased competition from discounters such as Wal-Mart Stores.
But Best Buy might also benefit longer-term as the electronics industry consolidates. Rival Circuit City Stores, which is hoping to emerge from Chapter 11 bankruptcy protection in the first half, has held store-closing sales at 155 U.S. outlets.