HMV reports expected loss


HMV reports expected loss
Music and books retailer HMV has said it is prepared for the key Christmas trading period, remaining upbeat despite reporting a first-half loss.

In a statement today the company confirmed its pre-tax loss before exceptional items was £28.7 million in the six months to October 27th.

However, the loss had been expected by the market and represented a slight improvement on the £29.2 million loss reported by the retailer for the same period last year.

HMV reported total sales growth of 9.5 per cent from its continuing operations over the first-half, while like-for-like sales were up by five per cent.

The company said its performance was driven by like-for-like sales growth at HMV UK and Ireland, which was up by 9.2 per cent over the period.

HMV said the business, part of its chain of music stores of the same name, had successfully tapped into the high growth games and technology categories and was also increasing its share of the music and DVD market.

Meanwhile, like-for-like sales at its book store chain Waterstone's were up 1.4 per cent over the first-half.

HMV confirmed it had also made progress under its three-year turnaround
programme, designed to address "profound changes" taking place within the company's markets.

In recent times the group has been struggling to combat tough competition from supermarkets and internet retailers.

But HMV stressed several of its initiatives were already having a positive influence on the group's financial performance, with actions taken by the company including an attempt to cut costs by streamlining the supply chains of HMV UK and Ireland and Waterstone's.

Commenting on the group's recent performance, HMV chief executive Simon Fox said: "Less than a year into our three year strategic plan, we are pleased with progress.

"At this stage, the most important days and weeks of our financial calendar are still ahead of us, and our stores and websites are very well prepared for Christmas," he added.

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