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Best Buy profit beats, sending shares higher

Best Buy reported quarterly earnings and revenue that beat analysts' expectations on Thursday, sending shares sharply higher in premarket trading.

Following the report, shares of Best Buy rose more than 8 percent in trading prior to the opening bell. (Get the latest quote here.)

The most surprising and encouraging thing to come out of Best Buy's earnings beat on Thursday is the growth in revenues, Anthony Chukumba, BB&T Capital Markets senior research analyst, told CNBC.

He noted that this is the first time since the third quarter of last year that the electronics retailer reported positive comparable store sales.

Third-quarter same-store sales increased 2.2 percent, the retailer said. Best Buy was forecast to deliver a 2 percent drop in same-store sales, according to an estimate from Consensus Metrix.

"One of the things that the bears have said is, 'Okay, they're cutting costs but they can't grow their top line.' Well guess what? They grew their top line," Chukumba said in an interview on CNBC's "Squawk Box."

The company is benefiting from a stronger product cycle thanks to the iPhone 6, ultra HDTVs, and wearables, but its performance also comes down to Best Buy operating at a much higher level both in stores and online, Chukumba said.

He had a $39 price target on shares of Best Buy prior to the report, but said he would be revisiting that estimate given its "stunning" performance.

The company posted third-quarter earnings per share of 32 cents a share, up from 18 cents per share in the year-earlier period.

Revenue for the quarter came in at $9.38 billion, against the comparable year-ago figure of $9.36 billion.

Analysts had expected Best Buy to report third-quarter earnings of 25 cents per share on $9.11 billion in revenue, according to a consensus estimate from Thomson Reuters.

People walk by a Best Buy store in New York City.
Getty Images
People walk by a Best Buy store in New York City.

The company said selling, general and administrative expenses fell about 5 percent in the third quarter ended Nov. 1. Operating margins doubled to 2 percent of total revenue.

Best Buy has removed layers of management, cut jobs, shut stores and boosted cash reserves since 2012 under its Renew Blue initiative, spearheaded by Chief Executive Hubert Joly, in an effort to make up for slowing sales.

The company has been facing intense competition from online retailers such as Amazon as customers increasingly choose to shop online for appliances and items such as smartphones and laptops.

Best Buy's U.S. business showed signs of recovery in the third quarter as revenue increased 2.3 percent to $7.99 billion, driven by high demand for televisions, appliances and computers. U.S. same-store sales grew 3.2 percent - the first growth in four quarters.

Total same-store sales increased 2.2 percent, compared with a 2 percent decline estimated by analysts polled by research firm Consensus Metrix.

Total revenue rose slightly to $9.38 billion from $9.32 billion.

Net income attributable to Best Buy shareholders nearly doubled to $107 million, or 30 cents per share, from $54 million, or 16 cents per share, a year earlier.

Excluding items, the company earned 32 cents per share.

Analysts on average had expected a profit of 25 cents per share on revenue of $9.33 billion, according to Thomson Reuters I/B/E/S.

The company's tax rate fell to 39.4 percent in the third quarter from 44.4 percent a year earlier.

Best Buy said it expects "near flat" revenue and comparable sales for the current quarter as sales of consumer electronics devices such as mobile phones fall.

The company's shares have fallen 11 percent this year through Wednesday's closing of $35.54 on the New York Stock Exchange.

The electronics retailer will be looking for a fourth-quarter boost as the important holiday shopping season gets underway. Best Buy reported in January that same-store sales had fallen during 2013's holiday season.

As Wall Street predicts that revenues will continue to fall, some have even floated the idea that an online retailer like Amazon may be interested in acquiring Best Buy.

—CNBC's Terri Cullen, Everett Rosenfeld, and Tom DiChristopher and Reuters, contributed to this report.