London: British music and books retailer HMV Group posted an 11.5% rise in annual profit as it benefited from the demise of smaller rivals, and said it was upbeat about its new financial year despite a weak economy.
The 88-year-old firm, which runs music, DVD and video games shops under its own name as well as Waterstone’s bookstores, said on Tuesday it made profit before tax and one-off items of £63 million ($104 million) in the year ended 25 April.
Analysts’ median forecast was £62 million in a Reuters Estimates poll of 18.
Sales from continuing operations rose 4.4% to £1.96 billion and the dividend was kept at 7.4 pence a share.
“Whilst we are cautious about the economic environment, at this very early stage in the year we are confident of our plans for the current financial year,” chief executive Simon Fox said.
HMV has benefited from the collapse of rivals Woolworths and Zavvi which, after years of struggling with competition from the internet and supermarkets, succumbed at the start of the recession.
HMV has responded to the competitive threat by widening its focus. It has entered the live music and ticketing markets, is trialling digital cinemas in partnership with Curzon and selling mobile phones in a deal with France Telecom’s Orange.
HMV shares have lagged the UK retail index by 11% over the past year. They closed at 118.75 pence on Monday, valuing the business at about £485 million.