HMV summer sales slump by a fifth

Troubled music retailer HMV has reported a further slump in sales in the past four months but said its turnaround strategy had made progress.

Sales dropped by a fifth in the 18 weeks to the end of September, following a drop of 11 per cent on like-for-like sales in the year up to June, and a total Group loss for that period of £121.7m.

The company has closed 29 stores over the summer, with sales figures on a like-for-like basis dropping 15.4 per cent.

Simon Fox, chief executive, said that, “The Group is highly focused on its turnaround plans.”

The six pilot Fast Forward stores, which devote 25 per cent of floor space to electrical goods in an attempt to minimize the importance of CDs and DVDs to profits, did show strong growth in the period.

The company announced it will complete the roll out of these stores to 150 sites by the end of October in an attempt to reverse its fortunes.

HMV Group also reported good results for its HMV Live business thanks to a successful summer festival season, amounting to an increase of 20 per cent on like-for-like attendance figures, and 30 per cent overall.

However, after HMV Live’s results are taken into account, the group’s overall sales still declined by 19.4 per cent.

In June HMV announced since the sale of 121 Canadian stores to restructuring firm Hilco for £2m, having sold the book chain Waterstone’s for £53m in May.

The Group is hoping its increased focus on electronics and accessories can make up for the damage done to CD and DVD sales by the growth in popularity of music downloads and streaming web radio.