MINNEAPOLIS-Despite lower-than-expected results for its current fourth quarter, Best Buy will maintain its store expansion schedule for fiscal 2009, and will surpass more than 1,000 units in the US, the company has announced. Executives at the electronics retailer recently said in a statement that the company plans to open 130 to 160 new stores worldwide during its 2009 fiscal year, with total retail sf to grow 10%. Right now, the company has 917 stores nationwide and 1,296 units worldwide.

“We’re consciously choosing not to pull back on our investments, even in a difficult economy, because we are making the bet that the opportunities are rich, over the longer term,” said Brad Anderson, vice chairman and CEO, in a press release. “When the US economy regains its momentum, we believe that our results will show these to be good investments.”

In fiscal 2009, the company expects to open 85 to 100 new stores in the US, predominantly in established markets. About 75% of the new stores will be in the 30,000-sf format, with 20% in the 45,000-sf format, and the rest 20,000 sf. Four stores will be relocated. The majority of units will open in the first three quarters of the year. The company also plans to open five to 10 additional Pacific Sales Kitchen and Bath Centers in the coming fiscal year, adding to a base of 17 units in the West.

Outside the US, the company will open 40 to 50 new stores including: 12 in Canada, divided evenly between Future Shop and Best Buy units; 20 to 25 Five Start stores in China; and two to five stores in Mexico. Its first units in Turkey will open in the early part of fiscal 2010.

“In the coming year, we will put more focus on the opening of stores in new countries where we see unmet customer needs,” said Bob Willett, CEO of Best Buy International and enterprise CIO. “Our entrances into Mexico and Turkey, which will require up-front investment, are a critical part of our long-term journey and are inspired by the same strategy that drives our domestic growth.”

December comp-store sales rose 1.5%, but the company expects to a report a comp decline for the fourth quarter. For the year, the company predicts comp increases of 2.5% to 3%, down from the previously expected 4% increase. Revenues, too, will be lower than anticipated for the quarter, due to industry-wide inventory shortages of home theater, MP3 devices, digital imaging and video gaming merchandise, the company said.

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