I make about 90% of my purchases through the Internet. I have grown weary of pushy, obnoxious salespeople who don't know the product, fighting traffic in parking lots, and the general schlepping that's required when shopping the old-fashioned way.
Online shopping not only eliminates most of the headaches of dealing with the world of retail, but it enables wise price shopping and a mind-boggling array of choices, as well as virtually unlimited product information. Combine these benefits with an often sales-tax-free environment, and online shopping makes for a superior method on multiple levels.
However, a recent very pleasant experience at a big-box retailer has started to change my mind about the superiority of online shopping. I needed to purchase a break-resistant and waterproof case for my son's tablet computer. He had already left it outside on several occasions and managed to cause a slight crack on the corner of the screen. I knew if I didn't get him a case soon, the $400 device would soon be damaged beyond repair. I didn't want to wait to an online order to be delivered, so I went to a local Best Buy (NYSE: BBY) to make the purchase.
Not only was the store well-stocked with a wide variety of cases, but the salesman was knowledgeable and helpful. Unlike the pushy salespeople I remembered from similar stores, he acted more like a stand-by sales consultant ready to answer my questions directly and provide guidance based on my needs.
|Flickr/Fan of Retail
Best Buy's turnaround program is paying off in a big way for investors. The stock is up more than 260% this year.
What sealed the deal for me was that after I chose a particular case, the salesman said Best Buy would match any legitimate online price -- including on any item sold directly by online powerhouse Amazon.com (Nasdaq: AMZN). I quickly checked my phone and found the same case on Amazon for substantially less money. I showed this to the salesman -- and he offered me the same price, right there in the store.
This obviously was a very pleasant surprise, so I decided to take a closer look at Best Buy as a potential investment. Here's what I found out.
Best Buy is a Minnesota-based electronic retailer with both an online presence and physical stores. As I experienced, the retailer is in the midst of a turnaround program it calls Revenue Blue. This initiative includes cost reduction, price-matching, a multi-channel strategy, and the closure of a few of its big-box locations. In addition, the company has changed the layout of its stores to make them more consumer-friendly, implemented an analyst-praised ship-from-store strategy that turns retail locations into distribution hubs, and redesigned its website to make it more competitive.
These changes have shown promise by improving the bottom line. In the retailer's second fiscal quarter, 2014 costs plunged $65 million and total reductions hit $390 million -- well on its way to meeting Revenue Blue's $725 million reduction goal.
The market is applauding these changes, as BBY is up more than 260% this year. Shares have been in a significant uptrend, with the 50-day simple moving average acting as support on the way up. However, price has flatlined at the highs in the $42 to $44 range. This makes the stock a classic breakout "buy" candidate.
Risks to Consider: Electronic sales are tied to the recovering economy. If the economy slips, electronics retailers will be among the first to feel the pain. An investment in Best Buy is not only a bet on the continued good fortune of the brand -- it's a bullish bet on the global economy. Always use stop-loss orders and diversify properly, no matter how compelling a stock may seem.
Action to Take --> Best Buy is setting up to be a classic breakout purchase. I like the stock on a daily break out close above $44. My 12-month target is $54; initial stops should be set at $38 right below the 50-day simple moving average. Another way to enter shares is to wait for a pullback to the 50-day simple moving average, then enter with tight 1-point stops in case the support level breaks.