U.K. entertainment retailers fear that conservatism among music, film and games companies means their products face losing the interest of the British public.

That's the core point of a New Year message issued to the entertainment industry today by Paul Quirk, chairman of trade body the Entertainment Retailers Association (ERA), which represents the vast majority of entertainment merchants in the United Kingdom.

Quirk says retailers think conservative programming is damaging the long-term viability of some of the country's most creative and successful industries. In his message, he said: "We need suppliers to be more innovative and deliver new product which really excites the consumer."

In his message, Quirk noted that, outside TV talent show successes like Susan Boyle, JLS, Alexandra Burke and Leona Lewis, there are expected to be only two new U.K. artists with debut sets in the Official Charts Co. Top 50 albums of the year, namely Florence & The Machine and La Roux.

Despite the collapse of retail chains Woolworths and Zavvi and the wholesale distributor EUK in late 2008/early 2009, Quirk said that 2009 "was far better than many expected." But he credits that largely to "a renewed investment by retailers in making product available to the consumer."

Specifically, Quirk cited the arrival of new entrants to the music market such as video games specialist chain Game, bookseller Waterstones and clothing chain Peacocks, all of whom have begun stocking a limited range of CDs, plus the pre-Christmas program of temporary store openings by music market-leader HMV. However, he added "retail investment on its own is not sufficient."

According to Quirk, "the sheer dominance of a small number of franchises, the narrowing of the range of creativity and the focus on blockbusters raises real long-term issues."

He added: "retailers are certainly not complaining about the success of Simon Cowell or Harry Potter or Call of Duty. Customers love these products and we are here to sell customers what they want." But, he added: "The great strength of the U.K. entertainment business has always been constant innovation, and we need to recognise that it is that innovation which keeps the public interested."

Quirk notes that seven of the year's Top 10 DVDs are sequels or latest franchise instalments for brands like "Harry Potter," "James Bond" or "Madagascar," while the year's biggest gaming title was another sequel, "Call of Duty: Modern Warfare 2."

Despite his warning, Quirk acknowledged that "it is hard to blame suppliers for not being adventurous when illegal file-sharing makes it ever more difficult for them to recoup their investment in new projects."

He added: "that is why entertainment retailers are working closely with the film, game and music industries to persuade government that tough action on illegal file-sharing is required now."