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Circuit City/Best Buy See Holiday Increases

6 Jan, 2006 By: Holly J. Wagner

It was a wired Christmas for consumers across the country, pushing sales up at Best Buy and Circuit City.

Circuit City announced record sales for December, up 12.1 percent, to $1.98 billion from $1.77 billion in December 2004. Comp-store sales were up 10.8 percent.

Best Buy revenue for the month rose 12 percent, to $5.7 billion, compared with $5.1 billion for December 2004. Executives noted the chain opened 104 new stores over the prior 12 months and comp-store sales grew 5.8 percent.

But the increases owed no thanks to DVD: Executives at both chains said sales of DVD players were off by double digits from December 2004, and sales of video software were down by single digits.

For Circuit City, a double-digit increase in video game hardware helped stanch the loss. The company did not provide specific percentages for categories, but noted that Web sales were up 49 percent in December 2005 vs. 2004.

At Best Buy, comp-store sales of entertainment software were off 3.6 percent and accounted for 23 percent of the chain's sales mix, vs. 26 percent the previous December. Gaming posted a high single-digit gain in comps, but growth in video game hardware was slightly offset by a decline in video game software.

The company's revenue from Web operations grew by 40 percent for the month, executives said.

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