Market conditions blamed
HMV Group revealed that group sales fell 2 per cent with a 3.5 per cent decline in like-for-likes in the 52 weeks to April 28.

The retailer, which owns the Waterstone's book chain, blamed the fall on poor market conditions. However, it said that group pre-tax profits for the year will be in line with market expectations.

HMV Group chief executive Simon Fox said: 'The markets in which the group operates have continued to be extremely tough. However, as we stated on March 13, our businesses are now planning on the basis of continuing market change, and I am confident that the initiatives we are putting in place to reduce our costs, revitalise our core business and grow our revenues are being pursued at pace and will lead to a turnaround of the group's performance.'

HMV said it will begin the roll out of electrical products to 20 UK HMV stores this month and is launching its store of the future trial in two locations this summer.

Fox said children's book and stationery departments are being rolled out in all Waterstone's stores. In addition, the HMV Canada web site has been successfully relaunched, with games now being sold in 77 stores.

In the 16 weeks to April 28, group sales were down 1.5 per cent and like-for-likes slid 3.9 per cent. However, online sales soared 150 per cent in the 16-week period.

Fox added: 'A good start has also been made to our cost-saving programme, including the disposal in the calendar year to date of eight Waterstone's stores.'