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Circuit City Q4 Sales Flat

3/04/2005 02:59:00 PM Eastern

Richmond, Va. — Circuit City’s domestic sales were flat during its fiscal fourth quarter, ended Feb. 28.

Net sales for its U.S. operations were $3.3 billion, matching the prior-year period, while same store sales, which now include extended warranty, installation and other service-related sales, slipped 1.8 percent. Previously, comp sale calculations were limited to revenue from merchandise. Without the accounting change, comps were down 2.9 percent.

For the full year, domestic sales grew 1.6 percent to $10 billion. Comps edged up 0.7 percent under the new accounting rules and declined 0.2 percent under the older calculation.

Fourth quarter comps were impacted by last year’s changes in Circuit City’s sales models for its Verizon wireless and DirecTV satellite businesses, the company said.

On the product front, top fourth quarter growth categories included flat-panel displays, with triple-digit comp gains, and portable and mobile audio, which both enjoyed double-digit hikes. Sales laggards included tube TVs, DVD players, satellite service, desktop computers and accessories, gaming, and home audio, which all experienced double-digit declines.

Despite the comp sale decline, CEO Alan McCollough said sales trends have improved since December thanks to increased traffic, spurred by enhanced “promotional and advertising effectiveness.”

Looking ahead, the company expects to open 30 to 40 superstores this year, half of which will be relocations.