Low Supply Of "Jingle Cats" CD Blamed
For Pre-Holiday Sales Slump
Snow wasn't the only thing falling in Minneapolis in December. Musicland's comparable-store sales dropped 3.9% during the period ending Dec. 30.

The Mall Stores Division of the Minnesota-based retailer (Sam Goody and Suncoast) saw a 1.3% decrease while its Superstores Division (Media Play and On Cue) dropped 8.2%.

Musicland's total sales slipped 2.6% to $427.4 million compared to $439 million for the same five-week period in 1999. Superstores sales were down 2.2% to $154.9 million compared to $158.4 million last year. Mall Stores sales dipped 2.9% to $272.5 million from $280.5 million a year ago.

For the 52-week period ending December 30, 2000, the company's comparable-store sales were down 0.3%, while total sales were up 0.9 % to $1.90 billion from $1.89 billion in the same period last year.

"Sales surged late in the Christmas season," said Musicland Vice Chairman/CFO Keith Benson, hypnotically, "but were not strong enough to overcome weakness earlier in the month. DVD was a bright spot in December with comparable sales more than 100 % over last year reaching more than 40% of video sales. Electronics also posted a solid gain in December while music sales remained soft with a decline for the month."

Meanwhile, Best Buy's proposed acquisition of the music retailer's 1,300 stores is closer to fruition. The waiting period under the Hart-Scott-Rodino Antitrust Improvements Act of 1976 (HSR) expired Wednesday (1/3). The companies still must clear standard obstacles in its merger. A certain minimum number of outstanding Musicland shares have yet to be tendered. The shares are being offered at $12.55 cash value without interest until Jan. 22.