HMV Group has revealed an 18% increase in pre-tax profits for the year ending April 24, 2010 to £74.2 million ($111 million).

However, like for like sales at U.K. entertainment retailer HMV (including Ireland) were down 2.4% compared to the prior 12 months. Total U.K. and Ireland sales increased 7.6% to £1.24 billion ($1.85 billion), while total sales at the international division (Singapore and Canada) were static at £253 million ($378.5 million), down 0.3%. Like for like international sales fell 8.8%.

In its results, HMV said it had made market share gains across all product categories, while the HMV Group had benefited from "strong trading in live venues" within the Mama Group. HMV took a 50% share in Mama in January 2009 and took complete ownership in January 2010.

The company expects "rapid growth" in the live division. Its sales totaled £8.1 million ($12.1 million) in the year to April 24, 2010, with a "seasonal operating loss" of £200,000 (-$300,000) since the acquisition.

"The Group's full year performance was pleasing, with record sales and a 17.7% increase in profits, driven by a strong performance at HMV U.K., as we continue to transform this business into a broad-based entertainment brand," said CEO Simon Fox in a statement. "Whilst at an early stage, the three pillars of our new strategy to continue to evolve HMV's product mix, grow in live and ticketing and turn around [bookseller] Waterstone's are progressing on track, as we continue to position the Group for the changes that are taking place in our markets."

HMV Group heralded "record" revenue of £2.02 billion ($3.02 billion), up 3.1%. However, as Fox noted, HMV U.K. and Ireland was able to take "maximum advantage of its strength as the only specialist retailer of scale in the UK entertainment market" following the demise of rivals Zavvi and Woolworths in early 2009.

It also added seven stores in the year to April 24, and has a total of 285 as well as an online mail order service. HMV benefited from a strong performance in 2009 and over Christmas in its domestic market, but suffered a setback in 2010, for which it blamed "severe weather conditions, strong comparatives and reduced levels of campaign activity" in the U.K.

HMV's largest product category is DVD and Blu-ray (45% of sales) while music represents 28% of sales.

Fox said the music environment remains competitive - mass merchants and online stores are selling CDs at loss-leading prices - and stressed that HMV needs to continue to diversify. Technology products are set to increase from 6% of sales revenue at present to 12% in 2013. Music fashion products are also being rolled out and a team of buyers with fashion retail experience has been recruited.

Fox also welcomed the U.K. Digital Economy Act, which includes measures to tackle online piracy, which he believes will benefit the joint venture with digital entertainment company and download store 7digital.

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