Dell Technologies shares rose Friday after the company reported revenue that beat analysts' estimates and showed sales of computers to businesses didn't fall as sharply as anticipated amid the slumping personal computer market.
Still, the results reflect a continued struggle to sell personal computers, particularly to consumers. The market saw historic declines in shipments from October through March after a surge in purchases during the pandemic, analyst Gartner reported in April. Dell competitor HP reported worse-than-expected sales earlier this week, although it projected a rebound for personal computers in the second half of the year.
Dell gave a lukewarm sales outlook that suggests a recovery may take a bit longer than expected. Revenue will be $20.2 billion to $21.2 billion in the current period ending in August, Dell Executive Vice President Yvonne McGill said on a conference call after the results were released. Analysts, on average, projected $21.1 billion, according to data compiled by Bloomberg.
For the fiscal year ending in January 2024, Dell maintained its forecast for a 15% decline in revenue, which "implies a return to a sequential increase in the second half of the year," said McGill, who will become chief financial officer later this year.
In the fiscal first quarter, revenue dropped 20% to $20.9 billion. It was a smaller contraction than the 22% projected, on average, by analysts. Profit, excluding some items, was $1.31 a share, the company said Thursday in a statement. Analysts, on average, estimated 85 cents.
Sales of commercial personal computers outperformed expectations. The segment generated $9.86 billion in sales -- an 18% decline -- that topped the $9.06 billion estimate. Consumer computer sales plunged 41% to $2.12 billion in the period ended May 5, compared with an average projection of $2.3 billion.
"We executed well against a challenging economic backdrop," Co-Chief Operating Officer Chuck Whitten said in the statement. "We maintained pricing discipline, reduced operating expenses, and our supply chain continued to perform well after normalizing ahead of competitors."
Dell's performance may suggest the company's sales "have bottomed and could embark on a cautious recovery," wrote Woo Jin Ho, an analyst at Bloomberg Intelligence.
Sales of infrastructure such as servers and storage fell 18% to $7.59 billion, in line with estimates. During a customer conference in May, the Round Rock, Texas-based company announced a collaboration with Nvidia to facilitate on-premise generative AI on Dell servers.