Best Buy, Sears Report Strong CE Sales

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Minneapolis -- Best Buy's digital business and Sears' majap and CE sectors were major sales drivers in recent weeks, the retailers reported today.

Digital products, including cameras and DVDs, helped send Best Buy's fiscal second quarter volume up 18 percent to a record $3.2 billion, while comparable store sales rose 5.1 percent for the period ended Aug. 26. For the trailing six months, sales were up 21 percent to $6.1 billion, and same-store sales grew 7.2 percent.

But despite the record gains, Wall Street deemed the comp store sales softer than expected and sent Best Buy's shares down $8 in early trading today.

The chain's chief financial officer Allen Lenzmeier cited "significant sales gains" for digital cameras, camcorders, cellular communication, DVD hardware and software, and attributed continued strength in TV sales to "increased assortment and affordability for both digital and analog products."

Home office remained the biggest category for Best Buy during the quarter, representing 36 percent of all sales, while CE edged up two percentage points from the year-ago period to 31 percent of the mix. Those gains came at the expense of major appliances, which declined two percentage points to 9 percent of the sales mix.

The company opened 12 new stores during the quarter, including the first four locations in the New York City area.

Meanwhile, Sears said "exceptionally strong sales" of appliances and electronics contributed to a 6.9 percent hike in August revenue to $2.22 billion, while same-store sales spiked 5.6 percent.

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