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Best Buy Profit Falls

Richfield, Minn. Best Buy Co. said Wednesday its fourth-quarter earnings slipped 3% as customer traffic slowed after the holidays.

The company said its profit fell to $737 million in the quarter ended March 1, from $763 million last year.

Revenue rose 4% to $13.42 billion from $12.9 billion a year ago.

Sales at stores open at least 14 months declined 0.2% in the quarter, despite growth in sales internationally. The decline at U.S. stores was 0.9%.

Interim CFO Jim Muehlbauer said Best Buy is planning for a "soft consumer environment in the near-term," and that it is counting on second-half growth to offset "modest declines" in the first half.

Best Buy said it expects comparable store sales to grow 1% to 3% for the year, with the fastest growth at its international stores.

For the full year, Best Buy earned $1.41 billion, up from $1.38 billion during the prior year. Revenue rose to $40 billion from $35.9 billion a year ago.

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