Best Buy Earnings, mindSHIFT and Black Friday: Reality Check
When Best Buy (NYSE: BBY) announces quarterly results Nov. 20, managed services providers (MSPs) should tune in. From mindSHIFT to Geek Squad, Best Buy has deep interests in the IT services market. But the Big Box retailer also faces intense pressure in its core businesses. I'm betting Best Buy will change ownership and perhaps even go private before Black Friday 2013 — though I remain upbeat on the mindSHIFT business. Here's why.
UPDATED, 12:13 p.m. ET, Nov. 20: Here are Best Buy's actual Q3 2013 earnings, which disappointed investors.
Best Buy's past year has been marked by turmoil.
- Former CEO Brian Dunn exited in April 2012 amid personal conduct questions;
- Former Chairman Richard Schulze resigned in June 2012 and has been exploring ways to acquire the company;
- New CEO Hubert Joly arrived in August 2012 but some on Wall Street criticized the CEO selection; and
- Best Buy has been trying to counter Apple Genius Bars with so-called Best Buy Solutions Central.
MSPmentor's Reality Check
I don't know if Joly can fix Best Buy, nor do I know if Schulze can acquire and/or take the company private. But I do strongly believe the three following statements:
- Best Buy will look dramatically different and may not even be a publicly held company by this time in 2013.
- A strategy to introduce smaller/more targeted stores doesn't impress me. I've seen that strategy before. It's called Radio Shack. And Radio Shack is tanking.
- Best Buy's investments in IT services, however, were logical moves and I bet they keep paying dividends.
The big IT services question has little to do with Geek Squad and far more to do with mindSHIFT, a $100 million+ business (my estimate) that acquired White Glove Technologies, the top Texas MSP, in June 2012.
Within Best Buy stores, the “sexy” consumer electronics shift to flat-screen TVs, tablets and smartphones isn't so sexy anymore. But within the halls of mindSHIFT, the push beyond managed services toward cloud services remains a big opportunity.
I doubt Best Buy will mention mindSHIFT during the Nov. 20 earnings call. In my mind that's a mistake. Best Buy's best path forward involves digital retail services, online commerce and cloud services. It's an ideal time to brag about mindSHIFT. Perhaps it will take everyone's mind off the challenging retail market — at least for a little bit…