HMV plans £10m push to retain its crown

HMV is to invest£10 million in eponymous store modernisations this year, to consolidate its position as entertainment sector leader.

HMV group chief executive Alan Giles could not say how many shops would be refurbished because details are yet to be finalised, but the project will run alongside the store opening programme.

Giles said HMV aims to open 20 to 25 shops this financial year, up from 15 last year.

HMV's Waterstone's book chain is to open 10 stores this year. Waterstone's managing director David Gilbert said he is looking at ways of strengthening the bookseller's brand in-store, and said he wants to 'create a more homogeneous brand'. Changes could come from better in-store signage and merchandising, said Gilbert.

He said the initiative would not affect plans to promote Waterstone's localised books offer this summer. He added many customers were still not aware of the localised offer, which will be pushed in-store and with window campaigns.

Waterstone's is also intro-ducing staff incentives, including cash and tickets to special events such as the British Book Awards.

Last week HMV Group posted preliminary sales up 5 per cent to£1.79 billion. Pre-tax profits rose by 21.9 per cent to£117.6 million.