Entertainment group HMV notched up a 1.7% rise in like-for-like sales at its eponymous UK and Ireland business in the 18 weeks to August 29.

The retailer has also bought a 50% stake in digital media delivery firm 7digital for £7.7m in cash. The deal will enable HMV to accelerate the growth of its digital entertainment business.

HMV’s total sales, including the contribution from 29 former Zavvi stores, surged 12.5%, and HMV hailed “strong market gains across all product categories”.

However, the retailer’s Waterstone’s books chain suffered a like-for-like sales fall of 3.4% during the period, which HMV said was “broadly in line” with the book market in general.

At group level, total sales advanced 4.4% and were down 1.8% like-for-like. HMV International’s sales slumped 12.6% like-for-like.

HMV Group chief executive Simon Fox said in his AGM statement: “Our plans for the peak selling period are in good shape…with a strong line-up across all product categories.

“The strategic initiatives that comprise our three-year plan are on track, and beyond this we are continuing to drive new initiatives for further growth”.

The tie-up with 7digital will give HMV access to 7digital’s music catalogue of six million tracks, and video entertainment. 7digital will “power digital services for HMV Group including digital music services for HMV UK and Canada and e-book and audiobook services for Waterstone’s,” the retailer said.

Fox said: “This is an exciting new step whcih transforms our position in the fast-growing digital market. We believe 7digital is the best partner to help us accelerate our growth in digital entertainment and and to become a major player in the market for legally downloaded entertainment.”