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Best Buy Catches AI Fever

Tech upgrades are coming, but the hype in the retailer’s stock might be overdone

2024 年 6 月 4 日上午 10:59 美东时间

Best Buy holds about a one-third retail market share of the U.S. computing industry, according to the company. Photo: Nathan Howard/Bloomberg News
根据该公司的说法,百思买在美国计算机行业拥有约三分之一的零售市场份额。照片:Nathan Howard/Bloomberg News

Best Buy BBY 1.05%increase; green up pointing triangle is ready for the AI revolution, and so are its investors. What about its customers?
百思买(Best Buy)已经为人工智能革命做好准备,投资者也是如此。那么它的顾客呢?

The retailer’s shares, which surged 13% on the day it announced earnings last week, have kept rising and are now up 21% since its investor call. AI hype caught on after Best Buy’s executives called out innovation in the latest crop of laptops.
零售商的股票在上周宣布盈利的当天飙升了 13%,并且一直在上涨,目前比投资者电话会议时上涨了 21%。在百思买的高管们在最新一批笔记本电脑中提到创新后,人工智能炒作开始流行起来。

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Best Buy holds about a one-third retail market share of the U.S. computing industry, according to the company, and laptops account for 20% to 25% of its sales, according to a report from Citi Research. Citi went from assigning a “sell” rating on the stock at a $67 target price to a “buy” and a $100 target, citing green shoots in laptop sales trends and the current innovation cycle.
根据该公司的说法,百思买在美国计算机行业零售市场占有约三分之一的份额,据花旗研究报告显示,笔记本电脑占其销售额的 20%至 25%。花旗从原先给予该股票“卖出”评级,目标价为 67 美元,调整为“买入”,目标价为 100 美元,原因是笔记本电脑销售趋势向好以及当前的创新周期。

Best Buy executives said last week that the company has 40 new laptops in its lineup, out of which 40% are exclusive to Best Buy. They are made by Microsoft MSFT 0.62%increase; green up pointing triangle, Dell, HP HPQ 0.08%increase; green up pointing triangle, Lenovo and Samsung and incorporate Microsoft’s new Copilot+ system, which has built-in AI functions. The products are available for preorder on Best Buy’s website and will be available on June 18.
Best Buy 高管上周表示,该公司推出了 40 款新笔记本电脑,其中 40%是 Best Buy 独家销售的。它们由微软 MSFT0.62%、戴尔、惠普 HPQ0.08%、联想和三星制造,并集成了微软的新 Copilot+系统,具有内置的人工智能功能。这些产品可以在 Best Buy 的网站上预订,并将于 6 月 18 日上市。

Other products driving excitement include Apple’s newest iPads, which are equipped with powerful chips that enable AI, as well as Bose’s new open ear headphones and Sonos’s debut headphones due to go on sale on Wednesday. Best Buy thinks these launches could whet consumers’ appetite for an upgrade and help push average purchase prices up, especially during the important back-to-school season.
其他激动人心的产品包括苹果最新的 iPad,配备了强大的芯片,可以实现人工智能,以及 BOSE 的新款开放式耳机和 Sonos 的首款耳机,将于周三上市。百思买认为,这些新品推出可能会激发消费者升级的欲望,并有助于推高平均购买价格,尤其是在重要的返校季节。

There are some encouraging, but not fantastic, early signs. Best Buy Chief Executive Corie Barry said new iPads are selling well and are contributing to improved sales trends in the current quarter. She said preorders on the new Copilot+ laptops were outpacing early expectations “just a bit, not massively.”
有一些令人鼓舞的早期迹象,但并非太棒。百思买首席执行官科瑞·巴里表示,新款 iPad 销售良好,并有助于当前季度销售趋势的改善。她表示,新款 Copilot+笔记本电脑的预订量超过了早期预期,“只是有点,而非大幅增长”。

It remains to be seen whether inflation-pinched consumers are willing to shell out more than $1,000 for laptops for functions that can be found elsewhere online, such as summarizing long documents or real-time translation. The main draw is that consumers can summarize or translate more quickly and securely, without having their data exposed in the cloud.
尚待观察的是,受通货膨胀影响的消费者是否愿意为笔记本电脑支付超过 1,000 美元的费用,用于在其他在线平台上也能找到的功能,比如总结长篇文件或实时翻译。主要吸引力在于消费者可以更快速、更安全地进行总结或翻译,而不会使其数据在云端暴露。

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Best Buy might have been ready for an upgrade cycle anyway. The retailer saw eye-watering growth during the pandemic as cash-rich, homebound consumers upgraded their home office setups. But that was followed by 10 consecutive quarters of comparable sales declines in its core U.S. business. Domestic comparable sales were still down 6.3% in its last quarter ended May 4. 
百思买可能本来就准备好进行升级周期。在疫情期间,这家零售商看到了令人瞠目结舌的增长,因为现金充裕、居家消费者升级了他们的家庭办公设置。但随后在其核心美国业务中连续 10 个季度出现了可比销售额下降。截至 5 月 4 日的上一季度,国内可比销售额仍下降了 6.3%。

Consumers might finally be caving in and replacing their laptops: Year-over-year comparable sales in that category returned to slight growth over the last two quarters. If new product launches at least attract more foot traffic to its stores, it could be a good thing for Best Buy’s overall business.

Can it take full advantage of this AI product excitement, though? Industry analysts note that Best Buy tends to get an extra boost whenever there is an innovation cycle in computing.

Nonetheless, the retailer has been losing market share over the past few years. This could partly be because consumers are consolidating trips to big-box retailers such as Costco COST 1.47%increase; green up pointing triangle or Walmart. But it is also possible that the in-store experience has worsened: Best Buy has cut its labor force by nearly a third over the last four years. Another point of concern: Appliance sales have been very weak and there isn’t a clear path of recovery given that fewer people are moving homes and upgrading them.
尽管如此,这家零售商在过去几年里一直在失去市场份额。这可能部分是因为消费者正在将购物次数集中到像 CostcoCOST1.47%或沃尔玛这样的大型零售商。但也有可能是店内体验变差了:百思买在过去四年里裁减了近三分之一的劳动力。另一个令人担忧的问题是:家电销售非常疲弱,鉴于搬家和升级家庭的人数减少,目前没有明确的复苏路径。

After the recent run-up, Best Buy’s shares trade at about 0.45 times forward-12-month sales, 18% more expensive than they averaged during the five-year period leading up to the pandemic. That is a big premium for an AI upgrade cycle that isn’t yet a sure thing. 
在最近的上涨之后,百思买的股票交易价格约为未来 12 个月销售额的 0.45 倍,比疫情爆发前五年期间的平均水平高出 18%。对于一个尚未确定的人工智能升级周期来说,这是一个很大的溢价。

Write to Jinjoo Lee at jinjoo.lee@wsj.com
请写信给 Jinjoo Lee,邮箱地址为 jinjoo.lee@wsj.com


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Appeared in the June 5, 2024, print edition as 'Electronics Retailer Best Buy Gets AI Fever'.
2024 年 6 月 5 日印刷版上出现了“电子零售商百思买陷入人工智能狂热”。

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