Second quarter results came in below expectations at Hastings Entertainment as company chairman John Marmaduke noted that consumers continued to focus on buying low-priced merchandise. Total revenue fell 6.7% in the period, to $117.2 million, and the retailer posted a net loss of $396,000 compared to net earnings of $660,000 in last year’s second quarter. Earnings were $800,000 below forecast, CFO Dan Crow said.

Results in the book segment mirrored those of the overall company. Books comps decreased 1.7% for the quarter, Hastings reported, primarily as a result of lower sales of new hardcovers, new trade paperbacks, and magazines, partially offset by strong sales of used and value books. The cafe, with comps up 17.2%, had the best performance in the quarter followed by electronics. The video game segment had the worst quarter, with comp sales down 20.9%.

For the first half of 2009, book comps were nearly flat, slipping 0.1% as used book sales helped to offset declines in new titles. For the entire company, six-month sales were down 5.7%, to $242.9 million, and net income fell to $1.3 million from $3.6 million. Crow said Hastings has lowered its projected revenue for the second half of the year and has also revised its earnings projections downward; earnings per share are now expected to be in a 37 cents to 42 cents range, down from 40 cents to 45 cents for the full fiscal year ended January 31, 2010. Crow added that there continues to be lots of uncertainty in the retail environment, particularly with respect to the holiday selling season.