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beat Wall Street's slightly lowered fourth-quarter estimates by 2 cents, and projected that worldwide same-store revenue will increase in "the low-single-digit range" for 2001.

For the fourth quarter ended Dec. 31, Blockbuster earned $37.8 million, or 22 cents a diluted share, excluding charges, up from $34.3 million, or 20 cents a share, in the year-ago period. Four analysts surveyed by

First Call/Thomson Financial

expected the company, which is based in Dallas, to report earnings of 20 cents a share.

The video rental retailer reported fourth-quarter revenue of $1.34 billion, up 12.1% from $1.20 billion in the same period one year ago. Blockbuster said its worldwide, same-store sales increased by 7% during the quarter.

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For 2001, Blockbuster, a unit of



, plans to open 200 to 250 stores. In the full year 2000, same-store sales rose 5.6%, down from an increase of 8.3% in 1999.

Shares of Blockbuster fell 37 cents, or 3.2%, to $11.31 in recent

New York Stock Exchange