HMV reports poor Christmas sales for music and films


Troubled entertainment retailer, HMV has admitted it didn't get the Christmas it wished for - reporting falling sales of its core music and movie offerings. However, its recent moves to diversify into selling technology products appear to be cause for greater festive cheer.

Like-for-like sales (adjusted to reflect recent HMV store closures) fell by 8.1% in the five weeks to the end of December 2011. Total sales were down by more than double that, at 16.6%.

However, adjusted sales for technology at HMV's 144 stores that now sell a range of portable products (as reported here) were up 51%. Technology products now represent 12% of HMV sales; it aims for this to reach 30% over the next three years.

"The continuing actions to focus the business and to expand our technology offering are beginning to show through," HMV chief executive, Simon Fox, told the BBC.

He continued: "We are seeing a combination of a slowing of the decline in music and film, and acceleration in the growth of technology. Undoubtedly trading conditions and the consumer environment remain challenging, but we remain confident in HMV's future prospects."

However, some analysts remain sceptical about HMV's long-term prospects, especially as so many technology retailers are also struggling.

"There are far too many electronics retailers on the High Street and I don't see [the push towards technology products] as a massive differentiator or a long-term sales driver," Matthew Stych, research director at Planet Retail, told the BBC.

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