Beyonce retains top spot on U.S. Billboard album chart

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[December 28, 2013]  LOS ANGELES (Reuters)  Beyonce held onto the top spot on the U.S. Billboard 200 album chart for the second consecutive week as her new self-titled album sold 374,000 copies in the lead-up to Christmas, according to figures released Thursday from Nielsen SoundScan.

The pop star's fifth solo album, which was released on Dec. 13, has sold a total of 991,000 copies through Dec. 22, which was the final day for tallying this week's chart.

Currently the year's 12th-best selling album, "Beyonce" is expected to crack the top 10 in just a few weeks' time, Billboard said.

The album, Beyonce's first since 2011, was released exclusively through Apple's iTunes digital music store and was not available in other retailers until Dec. 21.

Country music star Garth Brooks held at No. 2 on the chart with his Wal-Mart-exclusive box set, "Blame It All on My Roots," selling 199,000 copies.

British-Irish boy band One Direction's "Midnight Memories" moved to No. 3 from No. 5, swapping spots with country-pop singer Kelly Clarkson's Christmas album, "Wrapped in Red."

Sales of "Duck the Halls: A Robertson Family Christmas," the Christmas album from the "Duck Dynasty" reality TV series' Robertson family, jumped 22 percent in the week before Christmas landing at No. 4 on the chart.

That jump in the Christmas album's sales comes amid the controversy over anti-gay comments made by Robertson family patriarch Phil Robertson and published last week.

Week-over-week album sales rose 22 percent for the week ending Dec. 22, the final full week before Christmas. But sales last week were down 17 percent from the same period last year and album sales for the year are 9 percent lower than 2012.

"Say Something," a song by duo A Great Big World featuring pop singer Christina Aguilera, held steady as the top digital track, with 238,000 downloads last week.

(Reporting by Eric Kelsey; editing by Mary Milliken and Bob Burgdorfer)

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