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HMV sales down – blame the football, I say

By | Published on Friday 10 September 2010

Sales were down at the HMV Group this summer. But, you know, let’s not forget this is a World Cup year. Remember how everybody stopped shopping for four weeks? Yeah, that’ll explain it.

The impact of football’s big dance was one of the reasons given for a slump in sales in HMV’s stores in the last five months, revealed yesterday ahead of the entertainment firm’s AGM. A slow released schedule on the gaming front was also a factor, bosses at the company told investors.

HMV top man Simon Fox said that an overall sales decline of 5.9% was in line with expectations, and that the run up to Christmas and stronger release schedules in the second half of the year, especially in gaming, will help the retail side of the firm – which accounted for the majority of the sales slump – to pick up its game.

Fox’s decision to diversify into live music via HMV’s acquisition of the MAMA Group in part helped with the latest set of figures – without live revenues sales were down 9.9%.

Live music isn’t without its risks, however, despite the fact that the UK live sector is presently still maintaining its glow: HMV had to admit its latest festival venture via MAMA, the High Voltage Festival co-promoted with Classic Rock magazine, hadn’t been as successful as hoped. Nevertheless, HMV remains committed to growing MAMA’s festival business next year.

Fox told reporters: “In line with our new strategic plan, over the summer we progressed the changes to our stores that will enable us to drive our new fashion and enhanced technology offers. These initiatives, combined with a stronger product line-up, particularly in games, are key to the delivery of a successful Christmas. Overall our plans for the peak trading period are in good shape, and our focus is on providing our customers with the best offers across all product categories and live venues”.

Despite the firm’s performance being more or less in line with expectations, the general mood in the City re HMV yesterday seemed to be one of disappointment. Given Fox is still trying to convince City types his diversification strategy for HMV will work, that’s a set back.