Best Buy game sales slipping

Big-box retailer acknowledges modest declines in its gaming business during its 2008 holiday season.

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Earlier this week, GameStop posted more than $2.8 billion in sales during the holiday season, a 22 percent jump over the previous year. That announcement provided an increasingly rare bit of good news in a retail sector battered by the down economy. Unfortunately, that improvement in game sales has not been reflected across the board.

Best Buy released today a sales summary for its fiscal month ended January 3, and it showed slipping game sales. Best Buy's same-store gaming sales for the year dropped "by the mid-single digits" on average. Among the explanations for the drop were strong results from December of 2007 and declining sales of "large-ticket consoles."

Although the NPD Group reports accelerating sales of console games at US retailers, the gaming-revenues slide for Best Buy has been going on for months. According to Best Buy's last quarterly report, gaming was also down in the mid-single digits for the three months ended November 29. That decrease was attributed only to the previous year's strong sales performance.

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