MINNEAPOLIS-Reporting stronger-than-expected results for its fiscal fourth-quarter and full-year 2007, Best Buy Co. Inc. maps out an aggressive growth plan and continuing momentum of its ongoing shift to a “consumer centric” strategy. The locally based company’s international segment generated fourth-quarter revenue of $1.8 billion, a 43% increase over the same quarter a year ago.

Management attributed it to the acquisition of Five Star in China, a comp-store sales increase of 14% in Canada and an extra week of revenue and new store openings. During a conference call, Bob Willett, CEO of Best Buy International, said, “in the upcoming year, we will continue to assess additional new market opportunities, which could include tests in Mexico and Turkey.”

While international expansion is seen as an important route to company growth, and it expects to add 35 units abroad in the coming year, it is not the only one. Best Buy will open 95 US stores and continue implementing “customer centricity,” which Brian Dunn, the parent company’s president and CEO, says is a global core strategy.

He describes it as an emphasis on solving customers’ problems and meeting their desires and needs, versus concentrating on products and grabbing product market share. “It requires us to think about ourselves in new ways as we differentiate more from the competition,” he said, adding, “we’re not there yet,” and the approach “will be broader and deeper as we continue to pursue growth.”

The shift involves employees, particularly at store level, along with services, vendors and other partnerships. One example is its work with Microsoft on Vista and another is a new agreement with Apple. This year 200 Apple stores within the store will roll out at Best Buy locations. Acknowledging that this may seem inconsistent with the Microsoft/PC-related presence, Dunn says it’s part of serving customers’ needs.

The acquisition of Geek Squad is also central to this strategy as is the company’s recently announced agreement to buy Speakeasy. Best Buy for Business, which targets small business customers, is seen as another important area of growth.

Acquisitions are also on the table. The “lens” through which it will access purchasing companies will rest on three factors, according to Dunn. They are the ability to acquire new customer relationships, the skill sets to help advance customer centricity and “an effective culture” that also aids that focus.

Best Buy’s domestic segment revenues for the quarter reached $11.1 billion, an 18% rise over the prior-year quarter. US comp-store sales rose 4.8%. And a spike of more than 40% in online revenues bolstered this segment’s quarterly results.

The 2008 outlook calls for an overall 9% rise in revenues to take the total to $39 billion. Double-digit growth is forecast for flat-panel TVs. Pricing will continue to compress, but less than it did a year ago, management predicts. The growth in this category is expected to hold additional opportunities for selling service as customers sort out options.

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