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RICHMOND, VA- Sales of flat-screen televisions helped fourth-quarter profits soar by 65% for Circuit City Stores Inc., where consumers scooped up the electronics at a frenzied pace this holiday season.

Net income increased to $141.1 million, or 80 cents a share, during the three month period ending Feb. 28, 2005 compared to the same period a year earlier when income was $85.4 million, or 45 cents per share. Revenue was also up 13% to $3.9 billion while sales at stores opened at least a year jumped 11% during the quarter, execs with the nation’s second largest electronics chain said.

The Richmond, VA-based chain, which operates more than 1,500 retail stores in the US and Canada, has trailed its major competitor, Best Buy, for a decade. However, last year the company developed a five-year growth plan designed to improve the company’s performance.

As part of a cost-cutting effort, the retailer closed 19 stores, a distribution center and five regional offices last year, cutting its workforce by about 970 full- and part-time employees.

The turnaround attempt apparently paid off with in strong sales of flat-screen televisions, notebook computers and video gaming products, company executives said. Sales of flat-panel televisions were particularly strong with stores open at least a year, experiencing triple-digit growth. Sales of DVD players, however, dropped significantly.

For the fiscal year, the company earned $139.5 million, or 77 cents per share, an increase from the last fiscal year when earnings were $61.7 million or 31 cents per share. Revenue for the year was also up 11% to $11.6 billion.

Circuit City officials expect sales momentum to continue in fiscal 2006, with overall sales increasing between 7% and 11% for the year and sales at US stores open at least a year growing by 5% to 7%.

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