Hastings Entertainment generated $1.9 million in net income, or 17 cents per diluted share, on sales of $131.4 million in its fiscal first quarter ended April 30. That's almost three times the $754,00

Hastings Entertainment generated $1.9 million in net income, or 17 cents per diluted share, on sales of $131.4 million in its fiscal first quarter ended April 30. That's almost three times the $754,000 in net income, or six cents per diluted share, the company made in the first fiscal quarter of 2005, when sales were $104.9 million.

The increase in profit was produced by generating a high gross profit margin -- 35.5 percent of total revenue for the quarter versus the 34.1 percent in the corresponding quarter of the prior year -- while controlling expenses slightly more efficiently. For the quarter ended April 30, selling, general, and administrative expenses were 32.6 percent of total revenue, as compared to 32.8 percent in its fiscal first quarter in the prior year.

Hastings turned in comparable-store sales growth of 2.4 percent for its fiscal first quarter, but the 153-unit chain trailed the music market as its music sales declined 6 percent on a comparable store-basis. Nielsen SoundScan reports that U.S. album sales were down almost 2 percent year-to-date as of April 30.

In other product categories, the Amarillo, Texas-based chain enjoyed a 13.8 percent comparable-stores sales increase in video; and a 6.3 percent increase in video games; and a 2.7 percent increase in books. Even video rental -- which over the last few years has been in a negative spiral as sell-through sales grow -- managed to enjoy a 2.3 percent up tick in comparable store sales.

Besides music sales, the boutique category, which includes t-shirts, blank tapes, action figures, and cards, also was in the red with a 0.3 percent decline in comparable-store sales.