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DALLAS–With Blockbuster Corp. seeing some comp-store sales increases for the first time in years, it is testing new cosmetic remodels and eliminating mass store closures in the US, executives said during the company’s fourth-quarter conference call.

November saw the first comp-sales increase in five years, the chain reported, though December again saw a decline. Now, the company is testing different cosmetic improvements at several stores in Dallas, and could move forward with a larger rollout.

“For a small investment there are great improvements,” said Jim Keyes, chairman and CEO. “While it’s still early, we’re pleased with the results. “

As a result, any US store closures this year will be the result of lease expirations rather than a downsizing. “Before we close stores, we want to give our best shot at transforming them into profitable locations,” Keyes added.

However, the chain also is examining the profitability of its international units, and could consider converting some company-owned units to licensees.

Total fourth-quarter revenues increased 3.6% from the previous year to $1.6 billion. Net income was $38.1 million, up from $29.8 million from the previous year. Worldwide same-store and by-mail revenues increased 7.4% from the same period last year.

Revenues for 2007 increased 0.3% from the previous year to $5.54 billion. The company reported a net loss of $85.1 million, compared with net income of $39.2 million in 2006. Blockbuster has more than 7,800 stores throughout the Americas, Europe, Asia and Australia.

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