HMV has reported flat first-half like-for-like sales and warned of a “marked deterioration” in the book market over the past five weeks.
In the 26 weeks to October 25, the retailer reported sales of£754.5 million, up from£729 million the year before. Like-for-likes were flat.
In the UK and Ireland, like-for-like sales were up 1.6 per cent. Comparable sales at Waterstone's fell 3.1 per cent, a 1.4 per cent drop when taking into account the prior year's release of Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows.
Pre-tax losses were£27.5 million, versus a£28.7 million loss before exceptional items in the same period last year.
The retailer has secured new bank funding to September 2011 via a£220 million revolving credit facility.
In a Stock Exchange announcement, the retailer said that since the period-end, the markets in which HMV operates have weakened in line with general consumer confidence, particularly the book market.
Research by Nielsen revealed today that the value of books sold on the high street fell 12.7 per cent in the week to December 6.
HMV said: “Over the last two weeks there have been unprecedented changes to the competitive landscape of the entertainment sector, which we believe will strengthen HMV UK for the medium term.
“We are very well prepared for the important peak trading weeks still ahead of us, though it is too soon to tell how these combined factors will impact the group's financial performance over the remaining five months of the financial year.”
HMV increased its mix of games and technology in its UK and Ireland operations to 23 per cent, versus 18 per cent in 2007.
It refitted six and opened two stores in its next generation store format in the UK and Ireland, as well as seven refits and seven store openings in Canada.
The retailer also launched its downloads and streaming subscription music service on Hmv.com