HMV Reports Further Losses, May Sell Live Division to Boost Finances
HMV Reports Further Losses, May Sell Live Division to Boost Finances

HMV has marginally increased its share of the U.K. entertainment market, according to latest figures released by market research firm Kantar Worldpanel.

In the three-month period ending March 18, HMV grew its market share to 19.2%, up from 17.5% for the previous quarter. Amazon, which passed HMV as the United Kingdom's top entertainment retailer during the 12-week shopping season leading to Christmas, saw its share of the market slip by 2.5%. It remains the U.K.'s leading entertainment retailer, however, holding a 19.9% share of the market.

Business Matters: HMV Woes Signal Even Bigger Retail Changes Ahead

Commenting on HMV's improved performance, Paul Stevens, HMV head of ecommerce and insight, said that "whilst there's plenty more we need to do - this research finding is encouraging."

Significantly, the latest sales figures do not take into account the recent downsizing of video game retailer Game, which is expected to boost both HMV's and Amazon's sales performance for the forthcoming quarter. Game was placed into administration (equivalent to Chapter 11 bankruptcy in the United States) earlier this year, resulting in the immediate closure of 277 stores in the U.K. and Ireland (over 300 stores remain open).

The April 1 abolishment of the controversial "Low Value Consignment Relief" tax loophole will also have a positive impact on HMV's near-term future, according to Stevens.

UK Abolishes Reviled Tax Loophole Undercutting CD, DVD Sales

LVCR tax relief had previously enabled mail-order retailers based in the Channel Islands (including HMV's mail-order arm) to sell reduced cost music product to U.K. consumers. In March, HMV confirmed that it would be closing its own Guernsey-based mail-order warehouse, with all its mail-order operations relocating to the U.K. city of Birmingham.

"We're working on creating a far stronger multi-channel offer, especially now that the recent alignment in pricing between high street and online, following the decision on LVCR, means we can look to develop a genuine 'click and collect' proposition for our customers," says Stevens.

In related HMV news, to coincide with 2012 being the year of Queen Elizabeth II's Diamond Jubilee, the retailer has launched a public vote campaign to determine the greatest British album and film of the past sixty years. Votes can be made at: www.hmv.com/jubilee