Will Best Buy Prove Wall Street Critics Wrong?

A recent Star Tribune column points out that analysts have long forecasted Best Buy's demise, but the company continues to come out on top.

Wall Street analysts have dire predictions for Richfield-based Best Buy Company, Inc., but a recent report by the Star Tribune suggests that the company may prove skeptics wrong.

The report points out that analysts have been forecasting Best Buy's demise throughout most of the company's 45-year history, but the company continues to grow, working its way to $50.3 billion in revenue for the fiscal year that ended in February.

Star Tribune columnist Eric Wieffering suggests that Best Buy shareholders may need to be patient. The electronic retailer's recently reported financial results indicate that the company overestimated demand for 3-D and Internet-capable televisions, and its recently announced plans to restructure its international strategy and close nine China stores carry a hefty price tag. These factors helped send Best Buy's stock price to a two-year low on Friday, according to the report.

Analysts suggest a variety of remedies for Best Buy's current situation, including closing many stores or lowering prices to compete with discount retailers. (The company has recently indicated that it plans to adopt an “everyday pricing” model.)

The company has unveiled plans to grow in areas where it has recently seen financial success. For example, it plans to open close to 150 new Best Buy Mobile stores this year and expand its inventory of certain products that are only available online.

The company also is experimenting with a “connected store” concept, which includes an updated layout that is meant to attract attention to new products and offer a more hands-on shopping experience. And CEO Brian Dunn is reportedly taking cues from 30 stores in Pittsburgh and Las Vegas at which the company is experimenting with new physical layouts and other concepts.

The Star Tribune report suggests that while Best Buy may be too large a company to reinvent itself, it shows a history of successfully adapting to consumer needs.

Still, Wall Street seems skeptical: Nearly two-thirds of the analysts following Best Buy have assigned the company's stock a “hold” or “neutral” rating, the Star Tribune reports.