Sales of TVs, 'iconic' phones help Best Buy exceed sales expectations

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Best Buy has televisions and "iconic" cellphones to thank for a better-than-expected start to the sales year.

The electronics giant, in a first quarter report released Thursday morning, said revenue within the U.S. hit $7.9 billion – a 1.4 percent increase from the same period a year ago. The numbers exceeded expectations, and were high enough that Business Insider described the company as "surging."

The driving force behind the numbers, says President and CEO Hubert Joly, was "strong product cycles in large screen televisions and iconic mobile phones and continued growth in the major appliance category.” (Basically, TVs and smartphones sold well.)

Consumer electronics sales make up 65 percent of Best Buy's revenue, Joly says.

During the first quarter of 2015, sales in that category across the industry (not just Best Buy) were down 5.3 percent. At Best Buy, consumer electronics were down just 0.7 percent, Joly notes – essentially, they took far less of a hit than would be expected based on the industry-wide numbers.

Also helping:

The sale of mobile phones with billing plans (where buyers can purchase an expensive phone for a low price, and pay off the cost in installments), and increased sales of high-margin computer hardware – while selling fewer low-margin tablets, according to CNBC.

The company also noted a $40 million improvement in its credit card portfolio.

The Wall Street Journal notes Best Buy has posted stronger profits in recent months, but attributes that partly to hundreds of millions of dollars in ongoing cost-cutting measures.

Earnings per share came in at 37 cents, significantly more than the forecast of 29 cents per share. And total revenues hit $8.56 billion, ahead of the predicted $8.46 billion, Business Insider says.

CNN Money says the Richfield-based company should thank Apple.

First quarters are usually slower – it's after the holidays and people don't want to spend much on electronics during that time.

But the iPhone 6, CNN Money says, has been a "gigantic success." It came out last September but sold well through the beginning of 2015. The story says that, while Best Buy didn't mention the iPhone specifically, it's likely he was referring to Apple's juggernaut smartphone.

International numbers were a slightly different story, but that was expected. It hit $668 million, which is down 23.8 percent versus last year. A large part of that was the consolidation of the Future Shop and Best Buy brands in Canada

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