Best Buy shares rise after rocky year

Best Buy shares rise more than 4 percent to close out a rocky year for the company

Associated Press

NEW YORK (AP) -- Shares of Best Buy Co. rose 4 percent on Monday on light volume as the struggling electronics retailer closed out a rocky year.

Excluding Monday's rally, Best Buy's shares have fallen about 52 percent since the beginning of 2012. It has been battered by several factors: It is facing tough competition from discounters and online retailers, as people browse electronics in stores and then go home to buy them more cheaply online, a practice known as "showrooming." In addition Best Buy lost CEO Brian Dunn in April, after an investigation showed he had an inappropriate relationship with a female staffer.

That led to the departure of co-founder Richard Schulze, who knew about the relationship but didn't report it properly, the investigation found. Schulze stepped down, but he has been mulling a bid for the company. That bid had not materialized by the end of the year, although Best Buy has given Schulze more time to look over its books before he makes an offer.

Best Buy tapped French turnaround expert Hubert Joly in August to help reverse its slide. Joly has made management changes, including hiring CFO Sharon McCollam in November, and outlined a plan to improve results that includes beefing up customer service and revamping stores while cutting overhead and supply-chain costs.

In its most recent quarter, Best Buy posted a loss due to restructuring charges while revenue fell 4 percent to $10.75 billion.

Best Buy shares rose 51 cents, or 4.5 percent, to $11.80 in afternoon trading on the last day of the year, up from its 52-week low of $11.20 reached on Dec. 27. It hit a 52-week high of $27.95 on March 23.

Meanwhile the Dow was up about 60 points in afternoon trading on hopes a deal between Congress and the White House could be reached to avoid the "fiscal cliff" of higher taxes and spending cuts.

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