Slow economy, slow TV sales

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The Associated Press

MINNEAPOLIS_Best Buy said a slowing economy will hurt fourth-quarter profits and it reduced its guidance, as consumers held back on high-end TVs, digital music players and cameras.

The nation’s largest consumer electronics retailer said holiday sales were strong but fell off in January. Comparable-store sales rose 1.5 percent in December, but they will decline modestly for the full fourth quarter, Best Buy said on Friday.

“The macro-economic environment grew more challenging after the holidays,” said interim Chief Financial Officer Jim Muehlbauer in a statement.

Best Buy now expects earnings to be $3.05 to $3.10 per share for the fourth quarter, down from previous guidance of $3.10 to $3.20 per share. Analysts polled by Thomson Financial expected $3.16 per share.

Best Buy shares fell $1.76, or 3.8 percent, to $44.01 in morning trading.

Richfield-based Best Buy Co. Inc. expects revenue of nearly $40 billion for the year ended March 1. Analysts expected revenue of $40.2 billion.

For the year, the company said it expects sales in stores open at least one year to rise 2.5 percent to 3 percent, from earlier guidance of 4 percent.