Same-store sales of books rose 0.7% for the year ended January 31 at Hastings Entertainment and accounted for approximately 23% of revenue at the retailer, or $117 million. Total sales at Hastings increased 2.6%, to $508.3 million, and net income jumped to $7.7 million from $1.9 million in the prior year. Earnings in 2003 include a tax benefit of $1.7 million.

The increase in book sales was led by a 4.7% gain in comparable-store sales in the fourth quarter, driven mainly by strong hardcover sales. The solid fourth-quarter performance helped Hastings offset weak first-quarter book sales. For the full year, total comp sales were up 1.9% at Hastings. The DVD and video game segments had the largest sales increases in the year, while music and VHS sales declined. Music continues to be Hastings's largest category, accounting for 26% of sales in 2003. Video rentals and video sales generated 20% and 17%, respectively, of store sales in 2003.

Looking at the current year, Hastings projected that comparable-store sales will increase 3.6%. The company plans to open five new stores this year at an average cost of $800,000 per outlet, and also plans to relocate or expand 16 stores at a cost of $650,00 per store. The company currently operates 148 stores that average 20,000 square feet.