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Securities fraud lawsuit against Best Buy dismissed

BY Katherine Boccaccio

Minneapolis — Best Buy Co. said Wednesday that the U.S. District Court has dismissed putative securities fraud class actions against the retailer and three of its officers.

With regard to the class action lawsuit filed last year, the court on Tuesday dismissed all counts for lack of substantiation.

"We have maintained since the beginning of this case that the allegations are wholly without merit. We are pleased that the court’s decision has vindicated Best Buy and its officers of the unfounded accusations in the plaintiffs` complaint," said Keith Nelsen, executive VP and general counsel for Best Buy.

A San Diego law firm filed the suit in March 2011, claiming that Best Buy made false and misleading statements about its financial position, causing investors to lose money when the company’s stock plummeted.

The court denied a plaintiffs’ request to file a further amended complaint.

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Fred’s Q4 profit rises 14%

BY Staff Writer

Memphis, Tenn. — Fred’s reported Wednesday that net income for the fourth quarter jumped 14%, boosted by more robust sales and a favorable tax adjustment.

Profit for the quarter ended Jan. 28 rose to $9.8 million, from $8.6 million in the year-ago period.

Revenue rose 2.5% to $497.6 million, missing Wall Street’s expected $498.4 million in sales.

Same-store sales were flat.

For the full year 2011, Fred’s earned $33.4 million, up from $29.6 million in 2010. Revenue edged up to $1.88 billion from $1.84 billion.

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Online lost ground in February

BY CSA STAFF

No surprise that traffic to retail websites falls off appreciably in February after the big holiday surge, but Target really took it on the chin and nearly fell out of online measurement firm comScore’s ranking of the top 50 U.S. Web properties.

Target was ranked 49th in February with 23.9 million unique visitors, compared with 24th ranked Walmart with 38.6 million unique visitors, 41st ranked eBay at 71.3 million uniques and 6th ranked Amazon at nearly 106 million uniques. By comparison, Target had roughly 37.3 million unique visitors in December and 40.2 million visitors in November. Walmart’s February figures were also well below its holiday peaks when it had 55.8 million unique visitors in December and 58.5 in November. The fall of at Amazon was less extreme as the 106 million unique visitors it had in February was down from 114.7 million in December and 112.8 million in November.

“Valentine’s Day and the Super Bowl seemed to be the driving forces behind much of the online activity in February as Americans browsed romantic gifts and checked out Super Bowl advertisers’ websites, especially auto makers,” said Jeff Hackett, comScore EVP.

“In addition, tax sites posted another month of gains as the filing deadline drew nearer.”

Valentine’s Day sparked millions to visit flowers, gifts and greetings sites in early February, with the category rising 28% to 29.3 million visitors. Jewelry, luxury goods and accessories sites also saw a Valentine’s Day boost as the category grew 4% to 21.3 million visitors.

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