Music and books retailer HMV has reported reduced losses as it gets ready for the festive season.
Pre-tax loss before exceptionals in the six months to October was £28.7m, down from £29.2m in the same period in 2006.
HMV's most important trading days are still ahead of it, with the retailer well prepared for Christmas, it said in a statement.
The firm has struggled in recent years against stiff competition from supermarkets and internet retailers.
"Less than a year into our three-year strategic plan, we are pleased with our progress," chief executive Simon Fox said in a statement.
"At this stage, the most important days and weeks of our financial calendar are still ahead of us, and our stores and websites are very well prepared for Christmas," he added.
The group, which runs the Waterstones bookstore chain as well as music stores in its own name, saw total group like-for-like sales grow 5%.
Like-for-like sales in HMV stores in UK and Ireland grew 9.2%, while sales at Waterstones were up 1.4%.
Sales at the HMV.com website rose 68%.
Overall, sales of technology products, games and DVDs were growing in line with the company's strategy, it said.
HMV stores in UK and the Irish Republic were "successfully exploiting the high growth games and technology categories", Mr Fox said.
Technology now accounts for 6% of sales in HMV UK and Ireland, almost halfway to the firm's three-year target of 13%.