Circuit City Reports Loss on Falling Prices

Circuit City Stores is down sharplyafter the retailer reported an unexpected quarterly loss. Falling margins took a bite out of the bottom line as prices for hot electronics like flat-panel televisions declined.

The company said it had a loss of $16 million, or 9 cents a share, for the fiscal third quarter ended Nov. 30, compared with a profit of $10.1 million, or 6 cents per share, a year earlier.

Analysts, on average, had been expecting profit of 5 cents a share, according to Thomson Financial.

The results came after larger rival Best Buy said last week its third-quarter profit rose a less-than-expected 8.7% after intense pricing competition hurt its margins.

Before today's losses, shares of Circuit City had risen 2% for the year, while Best Buy was up 13.5%, and the S&P Retailing Index had gained up 11%.

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