With his investors and financing largely in place, Best Buy founder Richard Schulze wants to wait until after he sees Best Buy’s Black Friday weekend numbers before offering to buy back the company.
So how did Best Buy do? A Deutsche Bank analyst declared Best Buy to be the weekend’s “big winner” after reporting that 86 percent of stores it surveyed said they were “busy.”
That’s hardly scientific. And lots of traffic doesn't always or necessarily translate into real sales and profits, which is what Schulze wants to know.
The company provided a little more color:
1. Driven by exclusives and competitive pricing, three key categories – mobile phones, laptops and e-Readers – all exceeded Best Buy’s full-day hardware projections by 3 p.m. central time Black Friday.
2. The post-paid phone business online this year was 4-times better than what we did last year.
3. We broke records on BestBuy.com last Thursday and Friday. Thanksgiving day was our biggest traffic day online last year and we were anticipating the same this year. Looks like that bore out.
Best Buy also confirmed an earlier tweet from executive vice president Stephen Gillett that bestbuy.com sales on Nov. 20, the start of its early access online event for Reward Zone members, jumped about 400 percent from the same day the previous year.
What the company didn't say was how it did in televisions and desktop computers, two weak categories that form a big chunk of Best Buy sales.
Also a National Retail Federation report found that 37.7 percent of consumers it surveyed during Black Friday weekend said they purchased consumer electronics or computer related accessories, down from 39.4 percent in 2011.
Interestingly enough, the same survey found more people visited an electronics store and more people bought CDs, DVDs, and video games.
So when the numbers all add up, I suspect the status quo will largely remain unchanged for Best Buy: strong growth in online, tablets, smartphones, and e-readers but weak sales in televisions.
My only question would be the impact of Windows 8 on laptops and desktops, something I will try to answer later in December.