HMV UK and Ireland has reported like-for-like growth of 4.3 per cent for the 16 weeks ending April 25 while Waterstone’s like-for-likes slumped 4.5 per cent.
Group total sales for the period were up 4.8 per cent, including flat like for like sales. HMV UK and Ireland total sales were up 11.7 per cent and Waterstone’s total sales were down 3.4 per cent.
For the 52 weeks ending April 25, the entertainment group said margins were well managed and in line with previous guidance. The management is confident that group profits before tax and exceptional items will be towards the upper end of market expectations, with the range being £50.3m-£63.7m.
Year end net debt is expected to be approximately £10m.
Chief executive Simon Fox said: “Despite challenging conditions, the group expects profits this year to be towards the upper end of market expectations. This has been driven by strong trading in HMV UK & Ireland, which continues to benefit from initiatives to transform the business, and from maximising the opportunities arising from competitors exiting the market.
“As expected, the book market remained weak during our final quarter and we are focusing on successfully completing the migration to the Waterstone’s book hub to help to improve the financial performance in this business.”
The group has rebranded three venues to HMV following its joint venture. It will also trial the first hmvcurzon cinema to open in autumn 2009 in partnership with Curzon Artificial Eye. It has struck a partnership with Orange to offer mobile phones and services in an initial 15 HMV stores, with long-term potential for up to 100 stores.
The 100 Waterstone’s stores and waterstones.com fulfilment migrated to a new book hub.