Powered along by another record set of financials, Australasian home entertainment retailer JB Hi-Fi aims to continue expanding its share of the music market.

The group, which operates the JB Hi-Fi, Clive Anthony and Hill & Stewart brands in Australia and New Zealand, announced on Feb. 12 half-yearly profits of A$41.9 million ($38 million), up 60% on the previous year. The record result actually surpassed last year's full year profits.

JB Hi-Fi's operates 81 stores in Australia and four in New Zealand and offers a mix of both entertainment software and hardware, along with computer, camera and telephony products. Although games, DVD and computers remain the big growth categories, chief executive Richard Uechtritz says music remains a vital part of the mix.

"Music is still an extremely important part of the business," he told Billboard.biz. "Certainly the market is down, but we are holding up well. Because of the weakness of the specialty store model in the Australia, we are increasing our market share hand over foot."

JB does not reveal details of its individual product categories, but Uechtritz estimates that the chain now commands a music market share of between 25 and 27% in Australia.

He also still sees plenty of opportunities for growth in the music sector and is not fazed by the growth of online sales. "We have the biggest range and the best prices in the country," he says. "Online is another competitor for us, but we are not doing anything in particular in that space - we'll leave that to the Apple and Nokia; we'll focus on taking the biggest share we can of the retail market."

The growth in New Zealand hasn't been as spectacular, but Uechtritz remains upbeat about the prospects. Although revenue was up more than 60% to A$47.8 million ($43 million), comparable store sales were flat at 0.4%.

Launched in May last year, JB currently has four New Zealand stores, but will open two more in the current financial year, including its first outside the main population centre Auckland.

Uechtritz believes New Zealand ultimately can sustain around 15 JB stores, but the group will not be pursuing "growth for growth's sake". He also has no plans to accelerate the roll-out of New Zealand stores in the wake of the collapse of New Zealand's biggest music retailer Sounds. "We would like to it to be sooner rather than later, but we will wait for the right opportunities to open new stores," he says.