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Best Buy profits jump
No. 1 electronics chain meet forecasts; Circuit City narrows losses from continuing operations.
December 17, 2003: 11:06 AM EST

NEW YORK (CNN/Money) - Best Buy Inc. Wednesday reported third-quarter profits jumped, boosted by strong sales of digital televisions and other products, while rival Circuit City posted a narrower loss from its continuing operations.

Best Buy, the nation's No. 1 electronics retailer, posted net income of $122 million, or 37 cents a share, up 42 percent from net income of $86 million, or 27 cents, a year ago. The results matched forecasts by Wall Street analysts, on average, according to First Call, which tracks earnings estimates.

For its fourth-quarter, the Richfield, Minn.-based retailer said it expects a profit of $1.34 to $1.39 a share, compared with analysts' current forecasts of $1.41 a share for the quarter, according to earnings tracker First Call.

It expects to earn between $2.35 to $2.40 a share for the full year. Wall Street's forecast is for a profit of $1.91 a share for the year.

Best Buy (BBY: Research, Estimates) said third-quarter same-store sales -- or sales at stores open at least a year -- rose 8.6 percent on the back of strong holiday demand for digital televisions, digital imaging and computing products.

It expects sales in the fourth-quarter to grow between 6 to 8 percent, adding that sales so far are a bit below expectations due to bad weather in the Northeast.

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Meanwhile, Richmond, Va.-based Circuit City posted a third-quarter loss that was narrower than a year ago.

The No. 2 electronics retailer said it had a loss from continuing operations of $24.1 million, or 12 cents a share, compared with a net loss of $26.1 million, or 13 cents a share, a year earlier.

Including its discontinued credit card operation, Circuit City eked out a small net profit of $1.5 million, or 1 cents a share, compared to a loss of $17.8 million, or 7 cents a share a year ago.

First Call said it was not clear what number was comparable for analysts' estimates.

Circuit City (CC: Research, Estimates) said third-quarter same-store sales fell 1 percent, although sales in November rose 4 percent.

"The industry trends and our own initiatives resulted in strong sales of new technologies such as digital and thin-panel televisions, portable DVD players, digital satellite systems and portable digital audio," CEO Alan McCollough said in a statement.  Top of page




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