Josh Groban's "Closer" bolts 11-1 this week to give the singer his first No. 1 album on The Billboard 200. U.S. sales of the Reprise Records set were up 34% to 100,000 copies for the chart week, bring

Josh Groban's "Closer" bolts 11-1 this week to give the singer his first No. 1 album on The Billboard 200. U.S. sales of the Reprise Records set were up 34% to 100,000 copies for the chart week, bringing the album's nine-week total to just under 2 million units, according to Nielsen SoundScan.

Fueling Groban's sales burst was a retail campaign launched by general merchandiser Target. Along with recent albums by Alicia Keys, No Doubt, Toby Keith, Beyonce and Linkin Park, Groban's release was featured in a two-for-$20 promotion.

"Closer" was the largest beneficiary of the deal, with fans snatching up the album in anticipation of his first major U.S. tour, which launches next week. "Closer" debuted at No. 4 two months ago, and has hovered in and around the top-10 since.

Overall, U.S. sales continue to decline in the post-holiday season, but there is good news for the industry. While sales are down 28.3% from last week to 14.7 million units, that's up 7.7% from the comparable week last year, when sales tallied 9.8 million. The new year may only be two weeks old, but so far 2004 sales are bettering those of 2003 by 13.5%.

Sales of the "The Diary of Alicia Keys" dip 12% to 102,000 copies, keeping the J Records set at No. 2 in its sixth week. OutKast's two-CD set "Speakerboxx/The Love Below" (Arista) is right behind Keys at No. 3 with 101,700 copies, a 33% decline from last week, when the album was at No. 1.

No Doubt's "The Singles 1992-2003" (Interscope) gains 5-4 despite a 10% sales decline to 89,000 copies, while Toby Keith's "Shock'n Y'all" (DreamWorks) scoots 9-5, withstanding a 2% sales drop to 82,000 copies.

"The Very Best of Sheryl Crow" (A&M) falls 4-6 on a 22% sales dive to 80,000 copies. Taking a larger hit is the 14th volume in the "NOW That's What I Call Music!" series (Universal/EMI/Zomba/Sony), falling 3-7 on a 35% drop to 73,000 copies. Second-season "American Idol" winner Ruben Studdard is up 10-8 with his J Records debut, "Soulful." The set sells 63,000 copies in its fifth week on the chart, a 24% dip from last week.

Evanescence's Wind-Up debut "Fallen" drops 7-9 on 29% decline to 61,000 copies, while Jay-Z's "The Black Album" (Roc-A-Fella/Def Jam) slides 6-10 on a 36% dip to 57,000 copies.

Questions? Comments? Let us know: @billboardbiz

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