Circuit City Posts Decline in Quarterly Sales

Circuit City Stores Inc. (CC) on Friday reported a 1.8 percent decline in quarterly sales at stores open at least a year as it lost further market share to top rival Best Buy Co. Inc. (BBY).

The No. 2 U.S. electronics retailer said sales declines in products like traditional boxy TVs, desktop computers, monitors, video games and printers offset increased purchases of flat panel televisions (search) and satellite radios.

Total sales in the fourth quarter, ended Feb. 28, rose 5.3 percent to $3.47 billion, Circuit City said.

The retailer said it had changed the way it calculates same-store sales to reflect business trends, including the growing importance of service-related revenue.

Under its previous calculation methodology — limited only to merchandise sales — quarterly same-store sales showed a decline of 2.9 percent, the company said.

Analysts had expected a same-store sales drop of as much as 6 percent from the Richmond, Virginia-based chain, which operates more than 600 stores.

Early last month, Circuit City received a $3.25 billion unsolicited takeover offer from a private investment firm that criticized the chain, accusing it of not acting fast enough to stem a more than four-year slide in sales and profits.

On Thursday Best Buy said it had managed to grow its share of the $100 billion electronics industry to about 17 percent even as it same-store sales growth missed its internal expectations and said fourth-quarter profit could miss Wall Street's estimates due to heightened competition.