updated 12/19/2005 8:57:54 AM ET 2005-12-19T13:57:54

Circuit City Stores Inc., the nation’s second biggest consumer electronics store chain, on Monday reported a larger-than-expected profit in the third quarter on strong TV and Internet sales. The company also announced its chief executive officer, W. Alan McCollough, plans to step down next year.

Circuit City, second only to Best Buy Co. in consumer electronics retailing, earned $10.1 million, or 6 cents a share, in the quarter ended Nov. 30. That compared to a loss of $5.9 million, or 3 cents a share, in the year-earlier period.

Analysts surveyed by Thomson Financial expected the company to earn 4 cents a share in the quarter.

Sales in the quarter rose 15 percent to $2.91 billion from $2.53 billion in the year-ago period.

In a separate announcement, the Richmond-based retailer said McCollough, 56, will retire as chief executive on Feb. 28 and as chairman of the board of directors in June.

At a meeting Saturday of Circuit City’s board of directors, President Philip J. Schoonover was unanimously elected to the board and named CEO effective March 1.

Schoonover, 45 and a former Best Buy executive, was seen as McCollough’s heir. Circuit City hired him as chief merchandising officer in October 2004 and named him president in February.

For the first nine months of the year, Circuit City lost $1.6 million, or 1 cent a share, compared to a loss of $23.8 million, or 12 cents a share in the year-earlier period. Sales rose 10 percent to $7.70 billion from $7.00 billion a year ago.

Copyright 2005 The Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.

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