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Best Buy Dec. Sales Grow 13%

LAS VEGAS – Strong
sales of notebook computers, mobile phones and major appliances, and a surge in
online orders, boosted Best Buy’s net domestic revenue 13 percent to $6.7
billion in December, while comp-store sales soared 9.3 percent.

Although the
figures lap a dismal December 2008, when the nation was still reeling from
turmoil in the financial markets, they outpace the broad retail marketplace and
exceed the 0.8 percent decline in CE holiday sales tracked by The NPD Group.

Comp sales for the
company’s home office category, which includes notebooks and mobile phones, rose
28.5 percent thanks to a broad assortment and differentiated customer
experience, Best Buy said.

Major appliances,
a category that has experienced industrywide weakness for the past three years,
enjoyed a 16.2 percent increase in December comps, as momentum from aggressive
Black Friday promotions continued into the month.

The company’s core
consumer electronics category posted a 4.5 percent comp-store increase, which
Best Buy attributed to an “industry-leading assortment of televisions.”

Comp sales were
flat for the services category, and comp sales of entertainment software slipped
0.6 percent as continued declines in music and movies more than offset an
increase in gaming.

Also driving
December sales was a 34 percent increase in online revenue, driven primarily by
growth in Web site traffic, Best Buy said.

“It’s very
gratifying that our focus on the customer is producing such great results,”
said CEO Brian Dunn. “The holiday
selling season is critically important to a retailer. Our preparations for December
begin in January, and this year the stakes were higher than ever, given the
tough environment we’re all navigating. I couldn’t be more proud of the
extraordinary effort our people put forth â€” at our support, distribution and
service centers, and, of course, in our stores.”

Best Buy believes
it continued to gain market share in December, and said its share gains
accelerated during the fiscal quarter ending Nov. 30, 2009. The company said it
enjoyed the largest increases in categories that are critical to its “connected
world strategy,” such as TVs, notebook computers, digital imaging and mobile

Total company revenue
increased 13 percent to $8.5 billion for the five-week period, ended Jan. 2,
and company-wide comps increased 8.2 percent, aided by new overseas stores and favorable
foreign currency exchange rates.

company’s international segment increased its December revenue by 13 percent to
$1.8 billion and comp-store sales grew 3.5 percent, led by growth in China and Europe.
Excluding the impact of foreign currency fluctuations, revenue increased 4
percent and comps grew by the low single-digits.

Chief financial
officer Jim Muehlbauer said the company is on track to hit its fourth-quarter
earnings projections based on the December results. “Our employees have done an
outstanding job of meeting the needs of customers and delivering strong
performance in this challenging consumer spending environment,” he said.

The company
expects to report its Q4 results on March 25.