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HMV racks up further losses, future 'uncertain'

HMV

The turmoil in the high street has cast further doubt on the future of struggling music, games and DVD retailer HMV, which has seen losses jump to £36.4m for the six months to October 29th, 2011.

Sales dropped 17.6% to £364.9m compared to the same period the previous year (£442.7m), resulting in a deeper loss than the £27.4m deficit it posted in 2010.

HMV has admitted there are "material uncertainties" over the group's future, and retail analysts say the group is "in a very difficult position".

Shares in HMV, which have lost nearly 90% of their value in the last year, fell 5.7% to 3.65p, valuing the company at £16.4m. Net debts are £163.7m.

In a statement this morning, HMV says: "The economic environment and trading circumstances create material uncertainties which may cast significant doubt on the Group's ability to continue as a going concern in the future. The Directors continue to maintain regular and constructive discussions with the Group's banks."

The chain owns 249 HMV stores as well as famous live venues including the Hammersmith Apollo and Kentish Town Forum. The live venues could be put up for sale as part of a group restructuring to keep it afloat.

In recent months HMV has focussed more heavily on selling technology and accessories such as headphones rather than just CDs, DVDs and Blu-rays.

That strategy seems to be having a positive effect. Like-for-like technology sales in its recently refitted 144 stores are up 42 per cent, with growth in headphones, speaker docks and tablets.

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Andy Clough

Andy is Global Brand Director of What Hi-Fi? and has been a technology journalist for 30 years. During that time he has covered everything from VHS and Betamax, MiniDisc and DCC to CDi, Laserdisc and 3D TV, and any number of other formats that have come and gone. He loves nothing better than a good old format war. Andy edited several hi-fi and home cinema magazines before relaunching whathifi.com in 2008 and helping turn it into the global success it is today. When not listening to music or watching TV, he spends far too much of his time reading about cars he can't afford to buy.