Entertainment rental chain Blockbuster reports mixed financial results in the first quarter. The company's total revenues are down from last year, but it posts first-quarter growth in the retail secto

Entertainment rental chain Blockbuster reports mixed financial results in the first quarter. The company's total revenues are down from last year, but it posts first-quarter growth in the retail sector.

Total revenues decreased 1% to $1.5 billion from $1.52 billion in the first quarter of 2003. Worldwide same-store revenues decreased 7% compared to the same period last year.

Total rental revenues decreased 3.7% to $1.15 billion, compared to $1.2 billion last year. Worldwide same-store rental revenues decreased 8.2%.

Blockbuster chairman/CEO John Antioco in a statement attributes those decreases to weaker rental traffic industry-wide, and to the release of fewer box-office smashes on video this first quarter compared to last year's.

However, total retail revenues for the chain increased 10.7% to $330.9 million. Last year, retail revenues in the first quarter were $298.9 million. Gross profit increased 4.2% to $923.6 million from $886.1 million last year.

Blockbuster says these increases are due to the addition of 142 company-operated stores, growth in international retail revenues and favorable foreign exchange rates.

Blockbuster will launch an in-store subscription plan next month in select markets. The cost will be $24.99 a month for unlimited rentals, with consumers allowed to rent a maximum of two movies at a time.