The crucial holiday-shopping season didn't bring much cheer to Circuit City Stores Inc., but cost-cutting efforts helped the struggling electronics retailer swing to a profit for its fiscal fourth quarter.

The nation's second biggest electronics retailer hadn't seen a quarterly profit since the second quarter of 2007 and analysts had been expecting a loss for the December-February period.

Richmond, Va.-based Circuit City, facing pressure from an activist shareholder seeking improved profitability, said it earned $4.85 million, or 3 cents per share, in the three months ended Feb. 29. A year earlier, it lost $4.25 million, or 3 cents per share.

Analysts polled by Thomson First Call had predicted a loss of 7 cents per share and Circuit City forecast a modest loss.

Its shares fell 36 cents to close at $4.17 on Wednesday after trading as high as $5.05 earlier in the day. The stock has traded between $3.44 and $19.12 during the past year.

Despite a disappointing fiscal 2008, Philip Schoonover, Circuit City's chief executive, told investors in a conference call that the fourth quarter showed progress.

"We remain confident that we are on the right track," Schoonover said.