HMV to move away from stocking CDs

STRUGGLING retailer HMV has said it will cut back on stocking CDs and DVDs to focus on consumer electronics and live music events.

The music group, which has been selling off assets in a bid to secure its future, posted a 61 per cent drop in annual profit yesterday.

HMV said it had seen pre-tax profit slide to £28.9m in the year to 30 April, down from the £74.2m it made a year earlier.

Including impairment charges related to the sale of Waterstone’s and its Canadian assets, the retailer swung to a £123.1m full-year loss.

HMV’s new strategy will see it make a push into selling more electronic gadgets, such as headphones, iPods and other MP3 players.

Electronics products currently account for about eight per cent of HMV’s UK sales, although it hopes to push this to more than 30 per cent.

It also said it will focus on live opportunities, an area that has been viewed as one of the most profitable in the music industry.

However, the firm said its current profit from live music stood at just £3m.

HMV recently sold Waterstone’s, the high-street book chain, for £53m to a company controlled by Russian billionaire Alexander Mamut.

It also sold its 121 Canadian stores to restructuring firm Hilco for £2m earlier this week.

The retailer said it would use the proceeds from the sales to complete a refinancing deal with its lenders.

HMV said its net debt stood at £170.7m from £67.6m a year earlier.

Chief executive Simon Fox said: “We now have a clear focus and strategy to drive cash generation and cost reduction, reinvigorate the customer offer and further diversify the group into the growth areas of live, ticketing and digital.”