Retailer HMV Group today (Sept. 29) said it made "an encouraging start" to the financial year, with growth of 5.3% in the 21 weeks since the end of April. The company issued an interim trading stateme

Retailer HMV Group today (Sept. 29) said it made "an encouraging start" to the financial year, with growth of 5.3% in the 21 weeks since the end of April. The company issued an interim trading statement today to coincide with its annual general meeting.

Chairman Robin Miller commented that the company was "especially encouraged by the market share performance" achieved across its businesses. "At this stage of the year, we are very much on track and are well-positioned for the important Christmas period," Miller said in a statement.

Comparable-store sales grew 2.1% during the period.

Sales at HMV U.K. and Ireland rose 6.5% from the same period last year, driven by a store-opening program. Ten new outlets have opened this year so far; the full-year target is 20-25. Comp-store sales growth in the region was 1.3%.

Sales at HMV Asia Pacific rose 2.3%, while comp-store sales declined 2.2%.

HMV Canada division registered total sales growth of 15.1%, while comp-store sales rose 13.3%, underpinned by DVD.

The group's U.K. bookshop chain Waterstone's registered sales growth of 3.4%.

HMV has yet to announce the successor to COO Brian McLaughlin, who is to retire at the end of 2004.

A trading update covering the Christmas period will be issued Jan. 18 to coincide with the release of the interim results.