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Best Buy shares sink after gloomy earnings

Shares of Best Buy were down 2.5 percent at $17.70 Tuesday after the struggling consumer electronics retailer said its earnings this year would be lower than expected due to weaker industry sales and uncertainty around new products.

Best Buy said its same-store sales fell 3.2 percent in the three months ended Aug. 4, 2012, marking the eighth quarter out of the last nine in which the retailer’s same-store sales have declined. The retailer also suspended its profit outlook and share buybacks for the year.

The downbeat news shows the challenges facing new CEO Hubert Joly as he attempts to turn around the retailer’s fortunes.

Best Buy named Joly as its leader Monday, hoping to profit from his expertise in revitalizing companies as the electronics retailer struggles in the face of stiff online competition.

Best Buy has withered in recent quarters as customers have migrated to Apple and to online retailers such as Amazon.com.

Critics say Best Buy has effectively become a “showroom” for online retailers, with consumers going to its stores to play with a product and then going online to purchase it at a discounted price.

The company is also engaged in a bitter takeover fight with its founder and former chairman Richard Schulze, who has offered to buy the electronics retailer and take it private in a deal that values the company at more than $8.1 billion.

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