MINNEAPOLIS-Looking to maximize its existing store base and increase market share through its shuttered competitors, Best Buy Co. will slow store openings both domestically and internationally, executives said at the company’s fourth-quarter conference call.

The company is trimming capital expenditures by 50%, of approximately 65 net new stores, including about 45 new store openings domestically and approximately 20 net new stores internationally. The debut of large-format stores in the United Kingdom has been pushed to spring 2010.

“This is not a change to our commitment to the future,” said Brian Dunn, president and chief operating officer, who becomes CEO in June. “While we’re slowing our investment this year, we will focus on key drivers for the future.”

In fact, the company’s goal right now is to pick up as many of the now-closed Circuit City shoppers as possible. The company acknowledged that its former rival’s going-out-of-business sales did some damage to sales, the chain now is looking to pick up that incremental business

“We see [the closure of Circuit City] as an opportunity for customer acquisition, and quite frankly to get back customers who were disappointed and left the brand,” Dunn said.

For the quarter, revenue was $14.7 billion, up 10% from the fourth quarter of fiscal 2008. Comparable store sales declined 4.9%. Net earnings were $570 million, down 23% from the prior-year period.

Revenues for the year were $45 billion, up from $40 billion the previous year. Comparable store sales dropped 1.3%. Earnings were $1.0 billion, down from $1.4 billion last year.

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