First-quarter sales at Indigo Books & Music rose 16%, to C$156.3 million ($100 million), from C$135.3 million ($86.6 million) in the same period a year ago. Indigo attributed the gain to strong comparable-store sales and the opening of 17 superstores, which offset the closing of 16 smaller stores. Canada's largest book retailer, Indigo includes Chapters, Coles and SmithBooks.

During the quarter, which ended June 29, the net loss increased to C$13.2 million from C$7 million last year. The company said the loss last year was smaller because of two special nonrecurring circumstances: a controlling interest in Chapters Online that last year reduced interest costs by C$820,000 and C$3.8 million in income taxes recovered.

In the quarter, sales at the company's 89 superstores rose 28%, to C$111.4 million, and sales at superstores open at least a year rose 7.8%, compared to 2.3% in the same period last year. At the smaller traditional stores, sales dropped 5%, to C$33.9 million. The decline is mainly attributed to the closing of 16 stores. Sales at the remaining stores improved, rising 4.5%, compared to a comp-store gain of 3.6% in the same period last year. Indigo attributed the jump to improved in-stock position and merchandising.