Australian music, home entertainment and electronics retailer JB Hi-Fi defied the wider economic malaise to blast 8.4% comparable-store growth in the first quarter of its current financial year.

Furthermore, JB is so confident in its approach to retailing, the company has revisited its expansion targets and is likely to open more stores than it had previously reported.

Speaking at JB's annual general meeting on Wednesday (Oct. 14), the group's CEO Richard Uechtritz reaffirmed the store chain's forecast 20% sales growth to $2.8 billion Australian ($2.5 billion) in the financial year ending June 30, 2010.

"While the economic outlook remains unclear, we are encouraged by recent signs the Australian economy and consumers are feeling more confident than this time last year," Uechtritz said today. "Coupled with JB's focus on home entertainment and with the all-important Christmas and New Year trading periods ahead of us, the company remains confident that it will meet market expectation."

The Melbourne-based company, which currently counts 114 stores across Australasia, has redrawn its expansion strategy and now anticipates opening 22 new outlets this year, four more than originally forecast back in August.

By year-end, the company's store network should count 137 branded stores, as the company advances toward its longer-term ambition of 210 outlets across Australia and New Zealand.

JB, whose eye-catching black and yellow "Smashing Prices" tagline adorns its stores in malls and main streets throughout the country, claims a CD album market leadership of about 40%, and is a formidable presence in the market for computers, DVDs, games and gadgets. JB's music inventory wasn't singled-out during today's presentation to analysts and investors, but Uechtritz assured "sales in all product categories were solid."

JB Hi-Fi shares closed up almost 5% to $19.42 Australian ($17.70).