HMV Group announced 1.3% growth in total sales for the 18 weeks ending Aug. 30, in the first trading update of its current financial year.

"In what is a tough consumer environment, the solid start made by the Group to the new financial year means that our plans are in line with the board's expectations," said CEO Simon Fox in a statement issued to coincide with the Group’s Annual General Meeting In London today.

Compared with the same period in 2007, the entertainment retail giant saw same-store sales at its flagship HMV U.K. & Ireland operation grow 4.3%. The retailer did not publish exact value figures.

Same-store sales at its overseas businesses in Hong Kong, Singapore and Canada grew 2.9% during the same period. The company attributes the international growth in part to heavily increased video game sales at the market-leading HMV Canada chain.

However, the Group also reported a 4.3% drop in same-store sales at its U.K. bookseller chain Waterstone's.

In the United Kingdom, HMV launched its largest-yet "next generation" superstores yesterday (Sept. 4) in Liverpool. The 15,000 sq. ft store features a bank of Apple iMac computers at its "social hub" where customers can access social networks and music Web sites. The social hub is also used to highlight getcloser.com, HMV's new social network-oriented Web site.

The Liverpool opening is being celebrated with a month-long program of live music and events at the store, with The Feeling, Gabriella Cilmi, Glasvegas and McFly among the acts performing.

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