Business updates from regional electronics chains HHGregg (HGG) and Conn's (CONN), as well as Costco Wholesale Corp. (COST), confirm that Circuit City Stores Inc.'s (CCTYQ) rivals are already benefiting from its demise.

Companies reported better purchasing terms with vendors in recent months. And some are already seeing improved opportunities to add stores or add them more cheaply in light of the growing number of vacant storefronts generated by the failures of Circuit and other retailers.

"We are aggressively pursuing Circuit City's old market share and are optimistic the expected market-share gains will benefit our business over the long term," said Dennis May, HHGregg's president and operating chief, during a conference call with analysts and investors.

Retailers' profit margins and store traffic could be pressured over the next two months as more shoppers are attracted to potential deals at Circuit City. The chain's remaining 567 U.S. stores are scheduled to close by April, though industry watchers expect liquidation sales to wind down earlier.

Still, industry analysts on Thursday were encouraged that Costco, HHGregg and Conn's each indicated TV sales stayed strong in January despite the liquidation and the economy. So far, it doesn't seem as though the liquidation sales have eaten into the chains' business.

Furthermore, TV manufacturers seem to have corrected an oversupply that sent selling prices plummeting over the holidays, and retail inventories seem quite lean, said Credit Suisse analyst Gary Balter. That could be good for pricing in general for the remaining retailers, he said in a note to clients.

Shares of HHGregg jumped 17.1% to $9.60; Conn's gained 9.5% to $12.61 recently, and shares of Best Buy Co. Inc. (BBY), the largest U.S. specialty electronics retailer by sales, rose 6% to $29.68.

Costco shares were up 0.5% at $43.18 after the retailer warned Wednesday of disappointing fiscal second-quarter earnings as the recession cut into sales of other nonfood items and into profit margins.

HHGregg's better-than-expected fiscal third-quarter earnings were largely due to what the Indianapolis-based chain called "favorable buying opportunities" with TV vendors as a result of Circuit's woes and a general oversupply among TV vendors. As a result, HHGregg could offer good deals to shoppers and offset some economy-driven sales weakness while boosting gross margin more than analysts had expected.

HHGregg, which has about 100 stores predominantly in the Midwest and Southeast, reported a double-digit percentage increase in TV units sold at comparable stores for the third quarter. The company has baked into its fourth-quarter outlook increased pressure on store traffic and prices from the liquidation sales.

Club retailing giant Costco, too, said vendors offered it attractive TV-buying opportunities over the past several months as it reported January unit sales growth of 80% in TVs.

Conn's, which has 76 stores in Texas, Louisiana and Oklahoma, posted a nearly 13% increase in same-store sales for the Jan. 31-ended quarter as flat-panel TV sales drove big growth in consumer electronics.

"The company's performance was strong in each of the three months of the quarter, benefiting in part, we believe, from the demise of a variety of national and local competitors," said Hudson Square Research analyst Scott Tilghman.

Retailers are gaining leverage with more than just TV suppliers.

HHGregg's ratio of advertising expenses to sales improved in the quarter despite a 13.2% drop in same-store sales. May said in an interview that most of the leverage in advertising costs was tied to the soft economy and the resulting pullback from other advertisers, such as car dealers. Still, he noted, consumer electronics retailers favor certain forms of advertising. With Circuit City out of the picture, he said, "As we look into the next year, we see ourselves being in the driver's seat around negotiating aggressive advertising runs."

Real-estate market conditions are also proving more favorable to those few retailers still expanding.

HHGregg said landlords are more willing to negotiate on prices and terms of leases. As a result, the chain plans to shift from new construction to overhauling existing storefronts as it adds stores. And it could enter some markets that didn't previously make sense financially because they were overpriced, executives said. They didn't spell out expansion plans for fiscal 2010, saying they'll balance opportunities with the need to grow profitably and the need to manage working capital cautiously in light of the economy.

"We felt like before this that our (business) model created a great runway for growth," said Chairman and Chief Executive Jerry Throgmartin during a conference call. "We think that's greatly enhanced in this situation."

-By Mary Ellen Lloyd, Dow Jones Newswires; 704-948-9145;