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December Sales Mixed For CE Chains

Richmond, Va. – Santa rewarded Circuit City with double digit net and comp store sales gains in December, while RadioShack and Good Guys both reported losses for the month.

Fueled by strength in expanded post-appliance categories like video games, digital cameras, and DVD and PC software, Circuit City’s net volume rose 10 percent to $1.83 billion, matched by a 10 percent hike in comp store sales.

President/CEO Alan McCollough attributed the glad tidings to the majap successor categories, positive PC comps, strong holiday marketing and an “appropriately promotional” pricing stance.

Looking ahead, McCollough predicted upper single-digit comp store gains for its fiscal fourth quarter and consensus-beating earnings of as high as 71 cents per Circuit City Group share.

By contrast, RadioShack’s total and same-store sales both fell 2 percent in December. Chairman/CEO Len Roberts said net sales of $689.8 million were impacted by a 50-percent decline in PC volume, although the losses were tempered by a 10-percent to 12-percent rise in parts, batteries and accessories; a 14-percent gain in wireless; and a 30-percent spike in video accessories.

The story was more somber for Good Guys, whose December net was down 9 percent to $131.6 million while comp store sales slid 10 percent. Chairman/CEO Ken Weller blamed the downturn on the weak U.S. economy and eight underperforming stores that will be closed over the next two months – including a Las Vegas location on Maryland Parkway. On the plus side, he said that “sales improved throughout the month, demand for digital products remains strong, and our focus on newer, more fully featured higher-end products continued to provide a solid gross profit margin.”

Best Buy is expected to post its results today.