Entertainment group HMV is to open up to 15 temporary shops over Christmas, including one in Bluewater, to capitalise on the disappearance of rivals Woolworths and Zavvi.
The retailer reported that plans for the festive period are “in good shape” and the extra shops will enable it to scoop up sales. Chief executive Simon Fox said: “This is the first Christmas without Woolworths and Zavvi on the high street. The demand means that the current stores can’t deal with all of it.”
HMV posted a 12.5% rise in sales at its eponymous UK and Ireland business for the 18 weeks to August 29, and a like-for-like uplift of 1.7%. However, HMV’s international like-for-likes slid 12.6% and bookseller Waterstone’s suffered a 3.4% like-for-like sales slip.
Fox said that Waterstone’s performance was “broadly in line” with the book market and there is a stronger release schedule in the run-up to Christmas. Waterstone’s has been extending its ranges of associated products, such as stationary.
Advising buy, Investec analyst David Jeary said: “Earnings this year are underpinned by the combination of cost savings and market share gains from capacity exits, and HMV continues to diversify its revenue base.”
HMV also struck a landmark digital deal, taking a 50% stake in digital distribution business 7digital in an attempt to accelerate its growth in the fast-evolving market.
Under the terms of the £7.7m deal, 7digital will become the retailer’s “single supplier for all of its existing digital operations”. 7digital will provide a catalogue of more than 6 million music tracks and “provide a new and enhanced ebooks store, enabling Waterstone’s to build on its position in the fast-growing market for digital books”.
However, Oriel analyst Ben Hunt said the deal made strategic sense “but only represents small beer”.
➤ HMV has closed its social networking site Getcloser.com. A spokesman said its new rewards site Pure.hmv.com would achieve more in terms of delivering content.