5 Reasons Why Best Buy is Going Down in 2014

5 reasons why Best Buy is going down in 2014
Al Grillo/AP
Best Buy came out of nowhere to become one of last year's biggest winners. The consumer electronics retailer soared 237 percent, but investors hoping for a repeat performance in 2014 will likely be in for a rude awakening.

Let's go over a few reasons why Best Buy (BBY) stock could go from hero to zero this year.

1. Growth is going the wrong way. Stocks that more than triple in a year are often on a growth tear, but that's certainly not the case with Best Buy. Analysts see revenue and earnings per share declining 7 percent and 13 percent in the fiscal year that ends later this month.

Best Buy started to bounce back when it became clear that the superstore chain wasn't going away. However, fundamentally speaking it has just now started to bottom out.

2. Consumer electronics may never be the same. Best Buy may be selling a fair number of smartphones and tablets, but what happens after that? Unlike the PCs, TVs and CD players that used to define Best Buy's business a few years ago with a steady diet of software discs, DVDs and CDs, today's hot devices feed into digital ecosystems that bypass Best Buy completely.

We're already seeing the cracks. Smaller rival HHGregg (HGG) spooked the market earlier this month by announcing preliminary holiday results showing a 19.7 percent decrease in consumer electronics sales and a steeper 24.5 percent slide in computing and wireless products.

Best Buy likely held up better than that, but it's still a trend that doesn't bode well for the retailers of consumer electronics and physical media items.

3. This is no longer a juicy dividend play. Best Buy's quarterly payout of 17 cents a share was a major attraction when the stock closed out 2012 at $11.85.
It was a fat 5.7 percent yield, making it a compelling stock for income investors betting on the chain's survival.

The quarterly dividend remains the same, but with the stock closing out 2013 at $39.88 the yield for new investors drops all the way down to 1.7 percent. When you consider that interest rates inched higher through 2013 it makes Best Buy less attractive.

4. Best Buy is no longer cheap. The days of Best Buy trading at an earnings multiple in the mid-single digits are toast. The stock kicked off 2014 fetching 16 times this fiscal year's projected profitability and 14 times the profit target for the new fiscal year that begins next month.

That's not an outrageous multiple, but it's not as if Best Buy is growing its sales again. Wall Street is braced for flat revenue growth in the year ahead, and since that follows a double-digit decline over the past year we're talking about a chain that still won't be where it was two years ago in terms of total sales.

5. Sector rotation cuts both ways. Investors poured into consumer electronics retailers early last year. It wasn't just Best Buy. Conn's (CONN) more than doubled, and HHGregg nearly doubled in 2013.

The market raced into these retailers after Best Buy's new CEO showed a commitment to cutting costs and all three chains saw healthy upticks in their appliances and home products sales as the housing boom took off. Conn's and HHGregg are more appliance-centric than Best Buy, but it was still a good reason to buy into the chains that were delivering new fridges and mounting microwave ovens in new digs.

The climate is clearly starting to move away from this retailing niche in 2014. Sector rotation may not seem fair when the herd is moving out of your stocks, but the rally of 2013 for Best Buy and its smaller peers was never fully justified.

It's going to be a long year for Best Buy.

Motley Fool contributor Rick Munarriz has no position in any stocks mentioned. The Motley Fool has no position in any of the stocks mentioned.


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34 Comments

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Stefano Laterza

When will retailers give us the same tools that we have online (reviews, other customers bought, top sellers, mos reviewed, price drop and more) in front of our very eyes?

When I walk into Best Buy or another retailer, I want to see an end cap that says "These are the top purchased on Amazon.com, and ours is $1 cheaper and you can take it home now".

Unfortunately, you don't get that. You get a shelf full of 1000 items and you are not sure what to buy. So, you head to Amazon.com, do some reasearch, read reviews, look for the top selling item and pick it up - regardless of price.

Just my two cents, but you don't want to take my advice, since I am only a consumer, worked in retail and customer service for over 20 years - and am not some Suit working behind a desk.

One only needs to study the demise of BlockBuster to figure it out. /sigh

January 17 2014 at 10:10 AM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply
fubrewer

hh gregg is no threat as far as i\'m concerned ...they are the highest priced electronics store out there....and the staff in the stores suck

January 16 2014 at 7:58 PM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply
2 replies to fubrewer's comment
Linda

Why are they not getting rid of their CEO, fire all Management in each store and start fresh with new people for those positions? Sitting around wasting time is no answer. If I were a stockholder I would be demandng action at once and the starts at the top, get rid of the CEO.

January 16 2014 at 9:20 PM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply
Stephen

You are absolutely correct about the quality of staff at HH Gregg.... their approach is not too unlike a used car sales operation. Obnoxious.

January 17 2014 at 10:33 PM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply
bootsnchaps60

Isn\'t predicting the demise of Best Buy becoming an annual event?

January 16 2014 at 7:54 PM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply
1 reply to bootsnchaps60's comment
Linda

Not really the stores have gotten bad, lazy, slovenly and poor management and prices are too high. Everyone has been going to other places for what they want, places with excellent help, better prices and people who are trained right and can answer all questions consumers have. The Roseville, Mich. store has bad service and poor help and the management there is terrible, may be the worst I have ever seen.

January 16 2014 at 9:23 PM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply
pdbliz

I could care less about BEST BUY.!!!!!

WHY IS AMERICAN GOING TO HELL.!!!!!! AND,,,,FAST..!!!!! ON A DOWNWARD ROLL.!!!!!

January 16 2014 at 7:18 PM Report abuse +3 rate up rate down Reply
fakeconomics1

Bye Folks

January 16 2014 at 7:04 PM Report abuse -2 rate up rate down Reply
1 reply to fakeconomics1's comment
Mantis

Good riddance.

January 18 2014 at 3:26 AM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply
fakeconomics1

When companies like Best Buy fail to learn then they fail!!!

January 16 2014 at 7:04 PM Report abuse -1 rate up rate down Reply
fakeconomics1

Our economy runs on balanced supply and consumers! Consumers like me will decide the fate of Best Buy!! YES--I will give them a chance to correct and align with consumers!!

January 16 2014 at 7:02 PM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply
fakeconomics1

You can't silence me!!

January 16 2014 at 6:57 PM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply
fakeconomics1

Yes!! There is growing number of consumers complaints and frustration with Best Buy. But I don't see any reason for Motely Fool to engage in destructive and gorilla sabotaging business!!

We are also watching Dailey Finance and Motley Fool

January 16 2014 at 6:56 PM Report abuse -1 rate up rate down Reply
fakeconomics1

Just like American Car Dealerships damaging American Made Automobile Industry, the Geek Squad is contributing to chaos at Best Buy

January 16 2014 at 6:48 PM Report abuse +1 rate up rate down Reply