SAN FRANCISCO -- Sales at Circuit City ( CC) fizzled last month, as the electronics chain failed to capitalize on consumer demand for gadgets over the holidays. The company on Monday said its December same-store sales, or sales at stores open at least a year, dropped 11.4%, led by a falloff in its U.S. stores. Total sales tumbled 8.9% to $1.92 billion from $2.1 billion for the month. The results were widely expected to be dismal; Circuit City shares were crushed last month after the company posted a bigger-than-expected loss for the third quarter and warned that it would be in the red for the current period as well. The company on Monday reaffirmed its guidance for a modest loss before taxes in the fourth quarter. Shares of Circuit City were down 1.2%, or 5 cents, to $4.16 in after-hours trading. Chief Executive Philip Schoonover tried to extract some good from the numbers but also readily acknowledged the company's shortcomings. "Our sales performance, while disappointing, was in line with our expectations," he said in a statement. "The company saw significantly improved performance over the last two weeks of the month, but the sales improvement was not enough to offset the weakness experienced at the beginning of the month." Schoonover said the company is working on training its employees to close their sales at a higher rate, as well as push accessories on customers. Circuit City is also looking to fix gross margins through better merchandising, marketing and price discipline, along with reduced expenses.