Business

HMV says trading continued to fall over the summer

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Media captionRetail expert Brian Roberts: "We may be seeing a company in terminal decline"

Struggling High Street music retailer HMV said sales continued to fall during the past three months.

In an announcement ahead of Friday's annual meeting, HMV said like-for-like retail sales were down 15.1%.

Total sales, which include the impact of 29 store closures, fell 21.8%.

However, chief executive Simon Fox said trials of a new store format were successful and HMV was on track to roll out the new look to the majority of its 150 outlets.

HMV has been forced to issue profit warnings as competition from supermarkets and online downloads eat into its sales of CDs and DVDs.

In June, the firm agreed a £220m refinancing deal with its banks and sold the Waterstone's book chain and its Canadian arm.

The retailer is attempting to refocus its business by offering more technology products, such as MP3 players, headphones and tablet computers, as well as live music and event ticketing.

Like-for-like technology sales in the initial six revamped Fast Forward stores have grown by more than 100%, the company said. Most of the remainder of the stores are being refitted in time for the Christmas sales period.

"Overall, our plans for the Christmas trading period are on track," Mr Fox said in a statement.

In June, HMV made a profit before tax of just £200,000. Ignoring exceptional items, such as the cost of numerous store closures, underlying profits fell 61% to £29m.

Shares in HMV, which have lost 90% of their value over the last year, were unchanged at 6.5p.

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