Can Best Buy survive?

Just a few years ago, they were practically printing money at the Richfield headquarters of Best Buy.

Despite lower sales, MPR’s Marty Moylan reports, Best Buy is poised to become even more dominant in the electronics field. Still, 4,000 employees at the company headquarters in Minnesota are being offered deals to become unemployed.

The Wall Street analysts generally love misery of working people, fairly gushing this morning that the company is “right-sizing.” And the stock opened higher after the firm reported its earnings, prompting a wave of “half empty” vs “half full” news coverage.

“Best Buy tops profit forecasts” said CNN Money. “Best Buy 3Q Net Plunges 77%, To Slash New-Store Openings,” the same Web site reported 10 minutes later. The bottom line? Best Buy made a profit; just not a big profit — only $52 million.

So it was surprising to hear CNBC tease an interview with an analyst this morning by asking, “Can Best Buy survive?” A company makes $52 million in three months and it’s on death’s doorstep? It is, indeed, a “new” economy.

That analyst, Stacey Widlitz of Pali Research, said the good news is “it wasn’t a total disaster.” She also described the cuts in employees as “good news.” Best Buy’s problem, she said, is electronics are 10-percent cheaper at WalMart, a company analysts seemed to be burying a year ago.

The CNBC hosts tried mightily to do the same to Best Buy this morning, but Widlitz wasn’t biting. “No, I’m not worried about their viability,” she said. “With cost cutting in the organization… they have plenty of time before there’s a real issue here.”

The soon-to-be unemployed may not be able to say the same.