Best Buy sales disappoint, to cut stores, jobs

RICHFIELD, Minn., Thu Mar 29, 2012 – Best Co. Inc. reported weaker-than-expected sales for the fourth quarter on Thursday, and said it has decided to close 50 big-box stores and to cut 400 jobs in corporate and support areas.

Despite offering bigger discounts, the world’s largest consumer electronics chain saw weak demand for gadgets in the holiday selling season.

Net loss was $1.7 billion, or $4.89 a share, for the fourth quarter ended March 3, compared with net income of $651 million, or $1.62 a share, a year earlier. Excluding charges, it earned $2.47 a share.

Sales rose to $16.63 billion, but fell way short of the analyst average estimate of $17.23 billion.

The retailer said it expects its restructuring efforts to save about $800 million in costs by fiscal 2015, including about $250 million in the current fiscal year.