by Marc Bastow | October 25, 2012 2:55 pm
Two more deck chairs were folded and the lifeboat tarps were removed on the SS Best Buy (NYSE:BBY) over the past 24 hours. Coming next are signal flares and SOS warnings as Best Buy watches its stock slowly sink toward its 52-week, indeed its historical, low of just over $15 per share.
In the latest sign of distress, the consumer electronics retailer announced that U.S. business president Mike Vitelli will exit at the end of the current fiscal year in early February (with a lump-sum payment of $1.45 million). And Tim Sheehan, executive vice president of U.S. operations, will leave at the end of this month, according to Reuters.
The moves appear to be yet another chance for newly installed CEO Hubert Joly to remake the company’s C-Suite, although no names were mentioned for the now-open slots.
Further ripping a hole in the hull was the announcement that BBY expects same-store sales to drop “significantly” in the third quarter ending Nov.3. Profit margins are under pressure as the company tries to use discounting to lure store traffic.
Best Buy’s problems and its tortured story for 2012 are well documented, and investors have to be wondering what the end game is. Certainly, the coming holiday shopping season is vitally important, and with the newest releases of mobile products from tablets to smartphones from Apple (NASDAQ:AAPL), Google (NASDAQ:GOOG) and very soon Microsoft (NASDAQ:MSFT), shoppers should show up.
The biggest question, of course, is can BBY can turn those shoppers into buyers?
In the meantime, investors who saw a price tag of $24 to $26 per share tossed around by founder Richard Schulze earlier this year are still waiting for Schulze and his buy-out partners, including Credit Suisse (NYSE:CS), to finish heir due diligence and make a formal offer. Until that point, talk is cheap and getting more so every day.
Just like BBY’s stock price.
Marc Bastow is an Assistant Editor at InvestorPlace.com. As of this writing he is long AAPL and MSFT.
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