Stock Analysis

The Returns On Capital At Best Buy (NYSE:BBY) Don't Inspire Confidence

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NYSE:BBY
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Did you know there are some financial metrics that can provide clues of a potential multi-bagger? Typically, we'll want to notice a trend of growing return on capital employed (ROCE) and alongside that, an expanding base of capital employed. If you see this, it typically means it's a company with a great business model and plenty of profitable reinvestment opportunities. Having said that, while the ROCE is currently high for Best Buy (NYSE:BBY), we aren't jumping out of our chairs because returns are decreasing.

Return On Capital Employed (ROCE): What Is It?

If you haven't worked with ROCE before, it measures the 'return' (pre-tax profit) a company generates from capital employed in its business. The formula for this calculation on Best Buy is:

Return on Capital Employed = Earnings Before Interest and Tax (EBIT) ÷ (Total Assets - Current Liabilities)

0.24 = US$1.7b ÷ (US$17b - US$10b) (Based on the trailing twelve months to October 2023).

So, Best Buy has an ROCE of 24%. In absolute terms that's a great return and it's even better than the Specialty Retail industry average of 12%.

Check out our latest analysis for Best Buy

roce
NYSE:BBY Return on Capital Employed December 5th 2023

Above you can see how the current ROCE for Best Buy compares to its prior returns on capital, but there's only so much you can tell from the past. If you'd like, you can check out the forecasts from the analysts covering Best Buy here for free.

So How Is Best Buy's ROCE Trending?

On the surface, the trend of ROCE at Best Buy doesn't inspire confidence. Historically returns on capital were even higher at 39%, but they have dropped over the last five years. Meanwhile, the business is utilizing more capital but this hasn't moved the needle much in terms of sales in the past 12 months, so this could reflect longer term investments. It may take some time before the company starts to see any change in earnings from these investments.

On a separate but related note, it's important to know that Best Buy has a current liabilities to total assets ratio of 59%, which we'd consider pretty high. This can bring about some risks because the company is basically operating with a rather large reliance on its suppliers or other sorts of short-term creditors. While it's not necessarily a bad thing, it can be beneficial if this ratio is lower.

The Bottom Line On Best Buy's ROCE

To conclude, we've found that Best Buy is reinvesting in the business, but returns have been falling. Since the stock has gained an impressive 50% over the last five years, investors must think there's better things to come. But if the trajectory of these underlying trends continue, we think the likelihood of it being a multi-bagger from here isn't high.

Best Buy does have some risks though, and we've spotted 1 warning sign for Best Buy that you might be interested in.

High returns are a key ingredient to strong performance, so check out our free list ofstocks earning high returns on equity with solid balance sheets.

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