Citing strong holiday sales and better-than-expected quarterly earnings, Best Buy announced its first stock buybacks since 2012. The company will repurchase shares totaling $1 billion in the next three years, joining in a buyback wave that set a monthly S&P 500 record in February at $104 billion.
CEO Hubert Joly reported on a conference call Tuesday the shareholder rewards would be paired with a $400 million cost-cutting program, also slated to be carried out in the next three years.
Best Buy, the largest consumer electronics retailer in the country, spent 2014 recovering from an early plunge. Disappointing 2013 holiday earnings sent its stock price tumbling as Joly, who took the helm in September 2012, weathered scrutiny over his corporate turnaround strategy.
Especially challenging has been a perception of Best Buy as a “showroom” for customers who ultimately take their purchases online. Ditching an attempt to embrace the characterization with the tagline “The Ultimate Showroom,” Best Buy has emphasized personal service and pushed a price-matching discount intended to rival digital counterparts like Amazon.
The share repurchase program, totaling about 80 percent of Best Buy’s net income in the last year, signals its commitment to return excess cash to shareholders despite an uncertain future. Since hitting a low of $11 per share in 2012, Best Buy’s stock price has rebounded to $39. Still, the retailer has yet to reach pre-recession highs.