Hastings Entertainment 1Q Profit Tumbles

Amarillo, Texas, Hastings Entertainment’s profit plunged 62% in the first quarter. For the three months ended April 30, Hastings earned $754,000, or 6? per share, compared to $2 million, or 17? per share, in the year-ago period.

Revenue rose 2% to $129.1 million from $126.9 million, which included a 4% increase in merchandise revenue to $104.9 million and a 6% drop in video-rental revenue to $25.8 million. The company said the rental decline was in line with an industrywide shift toward buying, rather than renting.

Merchandise sales decreased for music and books, mostly due to weaker releases than a year ago, the company said. Video sales grew slightly, but were significantly below year-ago levels. Video-game sales rose sharply, as did sales of accessory items, including body jewelry, footwear and novelty T-shirts.

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