Hastings Entertainment is the latest retailer to report a substantial improvement in results for the first quarter of fiscal 2005 compared to last year's first period. Revenue at the company rose 8.6%, to $126.9 million, and Hastings had net income of $1.8 million compared to a net loss of $1.1 million in the first quarter of fiscal '04. The financial results exceeded Hastings expectations, and chief financial officer Dan Crow said Hastings is increasing its earnings projections for the full year.

The increase in the quarter was driven by an 8.1% gain in stores opened at least one year. Comparable-store sales for books, which dropped 5.4% in fiscal 2004's first quarter, jumped 8% in the most recent period. Same-store sales for music also had a dramatic improvement, moving from a decline of 11.8% to an increase of 5.9%. The strongest performing segment was video, which had a 24.6% increase in same-store sales.

Late in the quarter, Hastings opened a new store in Cañon City, Colo., and recently it opened another outlet in Emporia, Kans.