Managing director to leave at end of month
Steve Knott, managing director of the HMV music chain in the UK and Ireland, is to leave the troubled business as the group revealed it made a loss of£36.4 million for the six months to October 28. That compares to a£200,000 profit over the same period last year.

Knott will step down at the end of January. Group chief executive Simon Fox will fulfil the role while a successor is being appointed.

HMV said simplified lower pricing introduced in September led to a 2 per cent gain in its CD album market share. However, the total value of the UK music market declined by 13 per cent.

Group like-for-like sales fell by 0.8 per cent in the five weeks to January 6, while total group sales increased by 10.3 per cent.

Like-for-like sales rose by 0.7 per cent at the eponymous chain during the Christmas trading period, but fell by 2 per cent at Waterstone's. Total sales growth at the book chain was 39.2 per cent, benefiting from its acquisition of Ottakar's in July 2006.

The group said it was 'encouraged' by online sales at, which rose 200 per cent.

Fox said: 'The markets within which we operate continue to be difficult. The actions that the group has taken to improve its competitive position are yielding benefits, but these are not sufficient to offset the profound changes taking place in our markets.'