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iPod, LCDs best sellers at top U.S. tech stores

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Holiday sales at top U.S. technology retailers over the past few weeks sparkled, with iPod music players and LCD (liquid crystal display) displays leading the charge, executives said Friday.

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The comments, by four executives from major retailers such as Best Buy Co. Inc. and Circuit City Stores Inc. should help some breathe a sigh of relief since the fourth quarter, and the holiday season in particular, is the most important time of the year for retailers. For users, the fact some of these gadgets have been cleaned off store shelves not only means there's more room for new products, but that prices for things like LCD-TVs should continue to decline as turn into mainstream products.

"For us, anything that said iPod or was an iPod accessory was hot," said Larry Mondry, chief executive officer (CEO) of CompUSA Inc., during a round table discussion at the Consumer Electronics Show in Las Vegas. Notebook PCs were also strong sellers, he added.

At Circuit City, LCD monitors and LCD-TVs were a hit.

"It was a flat panel holiday. Sales of flat panel products were hot," said Alan McCollough, chairman and CEO of Circuit City.

Radio Shack Corp. listed toys such as radio controlled helicopters and cars, in addition to "anything miniature and digital," said David Edmondson, president and CEO of the company.

Best Buy rated the overall holiday season as fairly good across all product lines.

"It was pretty broad based, even in appliances, sales were strong," said Brad Anderson, vice chairman and CEO of Best Buy.

A trend he noted this year was that the week after Christmas was just as strong a sales time as the week before, likely because of the popularity of gift cards.

The four executives all agreed on satellite radio as one of the major growth trends in the U.S. currently. They also said sales last year in general were brisk, and that the U.S. economy appears strong right now.

"We had a good year in general, and specifically, a terrific Christmas season," said CompUSA's Mondry.

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