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Bank of America downgrades Best Buy, says sales could revert to pre-pandemic levels

The shift in consumer spending and slowing U.S. economy are ominous signs for Best Buy , according to Bank of America. Analyst Elizabeth Suzuki downgraded Best Buy to neutral from buy, saying in a note to clients that electronics spending could be in for a big correction. “Although the company expects a modest YoY decline in sales from $51.8bn in FY22 to $49.3bn-$50.8bn in FY23, we think the downside risk could be a full reversion to the prior trend line. In other words, if BBY sales had continued at the company’s pre-COVID 5-year average growth pace of 1.6%, FY25 sales would be on track to reach only about $47bn, about $8bn below the midpoint of BBY’s FY25E guidance range,” Suzuki wrote. Best Buy has already been beaten down this year, with its stock falling more than 30%. Much of the damage has been done over the past six weeks, as retail stocks have tumbled amid growing concerns about an economic slowdown. The risk of further downside to sales growth will keep the stock from rebounding sharply, according to Bank of America. “On our lowered FY24E of $10.08, the stock currently trades at a P/E of about 7x. However, if consumer spending behavior continues to favor ‘needs’ over ‘wants’ and BBY earnings revert to pre-COVID levels ($7.90 in FY20) its P/E would be around 9x, consistent with low-growth brick & mortar retailers and our valuation basis for our $90 [price target],” Suzuki wrote. That $90 price target is down from $110 per share previously. The new target is nearly 30% above where the stock closed on Monday. — CNBC’s Michael Bloom contributed to this report.

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