Culture Convenience Club Co., operator of the Tsutaya video rental chain, said Thursday it posted record earnings in the fiscal half, thanks to a robust growth in membership and the popularity of DVD movies.

Group operating profit in the six-month period jumped 26.9 percent to 2.16 billion yen on a year-on-year basis, while revenues rose 16.1 percent to 56.37 billion yen.

Group net profit posted a more moderate rise, inching up 3 percent to 810 billion yen, due to losses sustained on equity method investments and expenses tied to recently acquired subsidiaries.

Company officials attributed this strong midterm showing to a rapid growth in membership, which stood at 17.27 million as of the end of September, an increase of 1.77 million from a year ago.

They also said a steep increase in DVD rentals helped drive up earnings, with DVD rental revenues among stores that have been open for at least one year climbing 82 percent on a year-on-year basis.

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