Best Buy's December Sales Slip 1.6%

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LAS VEGAS - Soft TV demand and a sharp dip in entertainment software sell-through led Best Buy's net sales down 1.6 percent in December to $8.4 billion.

In the U.S., revenue declined 3.2 percent to $6.5 billion and comparable store sales fell 5 percent. Domestic sales were hurt by a low double-digit decline in TVs which dragged CE category comps down 7.9 percent, and by a 15.4-percent drop in music, movies and gaming titles year over year.

The declines were partially offset by brisk demand for e-readers, a 10.9 percent increase in major appliance comps, and a 7.6 percent gain from the chain's services sector year-over-year, Best Buy said.

Other categories showing strength last month included mobile phones, where sales of smartphones led a low-double digit comp sales increase, and mobile computing, where a mid-single digit comp sales increase was driven by tablet computers. also posted solid gains, as online sales rose 13 percent year-over-year.

The December sales generally echo the company's third-quarter results for the period through Black Friday weekend, when Best Buy reported a slowdown in foot traffic. The December numbers also mirror the 5 percent decline in

CE holiday sales

reported this week by The NPD Group, and


's expected 6.2 percent decline in comp store sales for the quarter ended Dec. 31.

  In a statement, CEO Brian Dunn said December sales results were within the company's "expected range of outcomes."


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