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Best Buy To Open 75+ Stores

Minneapolis — Brisk sales of flat panel TVs, portable audio devices, notebook computers and video game hardware and software boosted Best Buy’s comparable store sales by the low double digits in January.

The company also credited last month’s strong showing to gift card redemptions following a 20-percent spike in gift card sales during the holiday selling season.

Best Buy issued the update as part of a fourth-quarter earnings outlook. The CE specialty chain is scheduled to report its fourth quarter results on March 30.

Elsewhere, Best Buy said it planned to open a record 75 to 80 new stores in the United States during its 2007 fiscal year, which begins on Feb. 26. The majority will open in existing Best Buy markets during the third fiscal quarter, in advance of the 2006 holiday season. More than half the stores will be in the 30,000-square-foot format, with the balance split between the 20,000-square-foot and 45,000-square-foot formats.

The company will also relocate 10 to 15 stores, and will continue to remodel and enhance existing stores as locations are converted to the customer centricity model. Specifically, Best Buy said it will expand its digital TV assortment, add more Magnolia Home Theater in-store shops, and add elements of its Best Buy for Business initiative to over 120 stores.

“We’ve chosen these two critical growth areas so we can take advantage of the enormous energy around digital TVs while building our capabilities to serve small businesses, which represents a relatively new market for us,” said president and chief operating officer elect Brian Dunn.