Best Buy's digital sales are still surging thanks to the pandemic — but the company warned things could soon slow down

Brendan McDermid/File Photo/Reuters
  • Best Buy posted $US11.85 billion in third-quarter revenue on Tuesday, beating analyst expectations.
  • Online orders continued to surge, making up more than a third of all sales, amid another rise in coronavirus cases.
  • Despite the results, Best Buy’s stock sank as much as 5% after executives declined to give a forecast for the fourth quarter.
  • Visit Business Insider’s homepage for more stories.

Best Buy posted booming sales Tuesday, including online orders almost tripling, as demand for home electronics and entertainment products continues to soar during the pandemic. Yet anxiety about a fourth-quarter slowdown and lack of future guidance caused the retailer’s stock to fall more than 6%.

The electronics retailer reported $US11.85 billion in total revenue for the quarter to October 31 — up 21.4% on the same time last year, which the company noted was better that expected. Analysts had expected revenues of about $US11.0 billion.

The rising revenue included a huge surge in online orders. US comparable online sales increased 174% year-on-year, and digital orders made up more than a third of Best Buy’s total sales, it said. That’s compared to 15.6% in the same period of 2019.

Computing, home theatre, and appliances drove the sales growth in the US, though this was partially offset by a decline in mobile phone sales.

Best Buy didn’t give data on digital sales overseas, but noted that international revenue rose by more than quarter.


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The company’s CEO, Corie Barry, credited the rising sales to its supply chain knowledge, flexible store operating model, and ability to shift quickly to digital.

“The current environment has underscored our purpose to enrich lives through technology, and the capabilities we are flexing and strengthening now will benefit us going forward as we execute our strategy,” she added.

But, for the third quarter in a row, the company didn’t provide forward-looking financial guidance. As the pandemic rocks the entire retail industry, it’s not alone in this trend.

“We believe our Q4 sales growth will be positive, but we don’t expect sales trends to remain at the levels we experienced during Q3,” CFO Matt Bilunas said on a conference call. “While our sales in the first few weeks of November have remained strong, they include the launch of the new gaming consoles from Sony and Microsoft and also likely a pull forward of sales from later in the holiday season.

Bilunas also warned that the company expects “inventory constraints” to continue in certain categories.

Other big box retailers, including Walmart, Target, and Home Depot, also posted surging sales in November.

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