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Best Buy 4Q Profit Up

Chicago, Best Buy Co. Inc. said its profit for the fourth quarter rose 22% to $572 million, or $1.69 a share, from $469 million, or $1.40 a share, a year earlier. Sales for the fourth quarter ended Feb. 26 rose 9% to $9.2 billion. Sales gains were driven by lower-margin products such as MP3 players, DVDs and laptops. Comp-store sales rose 2.8%. The results included charges of up to $33 million to reflect changes in lease accounting and an allowance to cover customer returns. The charges partially offset a $50 million tax benefit related to Best Buys’s former subsidiary, Musicland.

The retailer also said its share of the $100 billion electronics industry rose to about 17%. Best Buy, which has about 830 stores, plans to open or convert 150 to 200 of its locations to a new model, which includes costly makeovers to help compete with rivals Circuit City and Wal-Mart. Currently, 85 of Best Buy’s U.S. stores are operating under this model.

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