Best Buy reports 3rd-quarter loss

NEW YORK (AP) — Best Buy Co. reported another dismal quarter on Tuesday, recording a loss in the third quarter, hurt by a continued sales slump and charges related to restructuring.

Shares fell more than 6 percent in premarket trading.

The electronics chain is struggling to reverse a yearslong decline in its business as competition from online stores and discounters increases, and consumers’ tastes shift from more profitable items like TVs and desktop computers toward less profitable smartphones and tablets.

In addition, it’s facing a growing number of consumers who are “showrooming,” going to Best Buy stores to check out merchandise but buying it elsewhere, is a challenge for the retailer.

“In-line with trends experienced over the last three years, Best Buy’s third quarter financial performance was clearly unsatisfactory,” said CEO Hubert Joly, a turnaround expert tapped in August to help improve results.

Last week at an analyst meeting, Joly outlined a plan to improve results via beefing up customer service and revamping stores while at the same time cutting overhead and supply-chain costs.

“The results we are reporting today only strengthen our sense of urgency and purpose,” Joly added.

Best Buy Co., based in Richfield, Minn., reported a loss of $ 10 million, or 3 cents per share, for the three months ended Nov. 3. That compares with net income of $ 156 million, or 42 cents per share in the prior year period.

Excluding one-time items, net income totaled 3 cents per share. Analysts expected net income of 13 cents per share.

Revenue fell 4 percent to $ 10.75 billion from $ 11.15 billion but still matched analysts’ expectations.

Revenue in stores open at least one year continued to slide, down 4.3 percent for the quarter. The measure is an important gauge of a retailer’s financial health because it excludes results from stores that open or close during the period.

Sales growth in mobile phones, appliances and tablets and e-readers was offset by weakness in notebook computers, video games, digital cameras and TVs.

Shares fell 88 cents, or 6.4 percent, to $ 12.87 in premarket trading. The stock is down about 41 percent during the quarter.

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Brocade reports 4Q profit, reversing loss

SAN JOSE, Calif. (AP) — Networking technology company Brocade Communications Systems on Monday reported a profit for its fiscal fourth quarter, helped by higher revenue from its products and services.

The company earned $ 54 million, or 11 cents per share, in the three months that ended on Oct. 27. That’s up from a loss of $ 4.3 million, or 1 cent per share, in the same period a year earlier.

Adjusted earnings, excluding one-time items, were 17 cents per share in the latest quarter.

Revenue rose 5 percent to $ 578.4 million.

Analysts, on average, expected adjusted earnings of 14 cents per share on revenue of $ 567 million, according to FactSet.

Brocade shares slid 11 cents, or 2 percent, to $ 5.43 in after-hours trading. The stock closed up 28 cents, or 5.3 percent, at $ 5.54 in the regular session amid a broad market rally.

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J.C. Penney reports hefty 3Q loss

NEW YORK (AP) — J.C. Penney Co. is reporting a bigger-than-expected loss and plummeting sales for the third quarter as its customers are still not buying its pricing plan that gets rid of hundreds of discounts.

The department store chain says it lost 56 cents per share, or $ 123 million in the quarter ended Oct. 27. That compares with a loss of $ 143 million, or 67 cents per share in the year ago period.

Revenue dropped 26.6 percent to $ 2.93 billion

Analysts had expected a 15 cent loss on revenue of $ 3.27 billion.

Revenue at stores opened at least a year dropped 26.1 percent. Analysts expected a 17.6 percent drop..

The bleak performance marks the third straight quarter of losses and severe sales declines since Penney implemented the pricing plan on Feb. 1.

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Earnings Preview: WellPoint reports 3Q Wednesday

WellPoint Inc., the nation’s second-largest health insurer, will issue on Wednesday its first quarterly earnings report since Chairwoman and CEO Angela Braly abruptly resigned in August.

WHAT TO WATCH FOR: The Indianapolis company surprised Wall Street in July when it cut its 2012 forecast and reported earnings that both fell and missed expectations. The investment community will want to know if any more surprises await.

WellPoint is still making money, but its net income has decreased in every quarter, year over year, since the second quarter of 2011. The insurer’s performance has frustrated several large shareholders.

Braly resigned Aug. 28, and WellPoint named John Cannon, its executive vice president and general counsel, to serve as interim CEO. Company shares have climbed about 5 percent since Braly stepped down, but the stock price is down more than 7 percent so far this year. Shares traded at $ 60.72 Monday morning.

Investors also will be looking for some sense of how the insurer expects to perform next year. Insurers typically start giving analysts a preview for 2013 in their third-quarter reports, even though many won’t release specific guidance until December or later.

WellPoint Chief Financial Officer Wayne DeVeydt has said he expects the insurer’s 2013 earnings to be stable next year, but net income could slip depending on, among other things, investments the insurer makes in its business to prepare for insurance exchanges that will start in 2014 as part of the health care overhaul.

The insurer also may provide analysts with an update on the progress of its $ 4.46 billion acquisition of fellow insurer Amerigroup Corp. WellPoint has said the deal gives it the opportunity for about $ 16 billion in potential revenue.

WellPoint will have a tough act to follow in the third quarter. Major insurers UnitedHealth Group Inc., Aetna Inc. and Cigna Corp. have already reported earnings growth in performances that beat analyst expectations.

WHY IT MATTERS: WellPoint runs Blue Cross Blue Shield plans in 14 states, including California, New York and Ohio. It covers about 33.6 million people.

WHAT’S EXPECTED: Analysts expect, on average, earnings of $ 1.84 per share on $ 15.32 billion in revenue, according to FactSet.

LAST YEAR’S QUARTER: WellPoint’s 2011 third-quarter earnings fell more than 7 percent. The insurer earned $ 683.2 million, or $ 1.90 per share, as total revenue climbed 5.7 percent to about $ 15.4 billion.

Earnings fell in the quarter mainly because the 2010 quarter included a benefit of $ 110 million because claims left over from previous quarters came in lower than WellPoint expected. That allowed WellPoint to release money it held in reserve.

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Washington Post reports 3Q profit, reversing loss

WASHINGTON (AP) — The Washington Post Co.’s stock jumped 5 percent Friday after the company reported a third-quarter profit, reversing a loss from the same period a year ago.

The media and education company reported net income of $ 93.8 million, or $ 12.64 per share, in the three months that ended on Sept. 30.

A year ago, the Post Co. booked a loss of $ 6.2 million, or 82 cents per share. The third quarter of 2011 included one-time charges of $ 3.5 million, or 44 cents per share, related to severance and restructuring at Kaplan. It also included a writedown of $ 14.9 million, or $ 1.89 per share, related to its stake in Corinthian Colleges, a for-profit education company separate from Kaplan. Excluding these items, the company would have earned $ 4.95 per share in that quarter.

The Post Co.’s latest quarter included a one-time charge of $ 7.6 million, or $ 1.02 per share, in early retirement, severance and restructuring costs at its newspaper publishing division and at its Kaplan education business. Still, there were fewer charges than last year.

Revenue in the most recent quarter was $ 1.01 billion, about the same as a year earlier.

The company’s stock rose $ 17.05, or 5 percent, to $ 356.50 million in midday trading. The stock has traded between $ 323.29 and $ 405 in the past 52 weeks.

The company is best known for The Washington Post newspaper, but its Kaplan education business accounts for more than half of its revenue. Kaplan, which operates a range of educational services, including for-profit universities, was once a growing business. But recent federal regulations aimed at lowering student debt have led to lower enrollment at many for-profit schools where a large proportion of students borrow money to attend.

In response to government scrutiny, Kaplan schools have raised admissions standards and given students a trial period before they are required to pay. Kaplan has also changed the way it markets its programs.

Kaplan’s higher-education division had 73,261 students enrolled as of Sept. 30, down 8 percent from 78,534 a year ago.

Revenue at the company’s education division fell 8 percent from a year earlier to $ 552.6 million from $ 601.6 million.

At the Post Co.’s cable TV business, revenue grew 6 percent to $ 199.6 million from $ 187.9 million.

Revenue from newspaper publishing fell 4 percent to $ 137.3 million from $ 143.5 million.

Broadcast TV revenue rose 44 percent $ 106.4 million from $ 73.8 million due to improved advertising demand, helped by the presidential elections and the summer Olympics.

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