RICHMOND, VA-Circuit City Stores is closing seven underperforming US superstores, and also closing 62 international units in Canada. The closures, the locations of which have not been made public, are scheduled for completion by the end of the month.

Due to gross-margin pressures in the third quarter, primarily from weak sales in flat-screen televisions, management expects to take a fourth-quarter charge of between $85 million and $105 million, say store officials. About $30 million of that total is related to the store closings, the officials said.

Meanwhile, Douglas T. Moore, Circuit City’s chief merchandising officer, has left the company. David T. Matthews, currently senior vice president of Circuit City direct, will oversee the retailer’s merchandising, marketing, services and supply-chain operations.

The closures and personnel changes come after a strong December sales performance for the company, which posted a year-over-year, same-store sales gain of 4.2%. Total sales rose 5.9%, hitting $2.1 billion during the month.

Circuit City operates about 650 US stores and 955 company-owned units and dealer outlets in Canada. Management expects to release its fourth-quarter earnings some time in early April.

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