Summary:

HMV’s CEO says the slowdown in plastic music and movie sales is itself slowing down – even though its Christmas was nearly a tenth worse tha…

Simon Fox, HMV CEO

HMV’s CEO says the slowdown in plastic music and movie sales is itself slowing down – even though its Christmas was nearly a tenth worse than the previous year.

In the five weeks to December 31, HMV (LSE: HMV) Retail sales were 8.2 percent down on 2010’s equivalent period on a like-for-like basis.

“In the 144 stores refitted with an extended technology range of portable digital products, technology like for like sales were up 51 percent …, an improvement in the previously reported average of 42 percent since the respective store refit dates,” the company told the City.

CEO Simon Fox: “The continuing actions to focus the business and to expand our technology offering are beginning to show through.

“We are seeing a combination of a slowing of the decline in music and film, and acceleration in the growth of technology. Undoubtedly trading conditions and the consumer environment remain challenging, but we remain confident in HMV’s future prospects.”

*Fox* did not quantify the supposed slowdown in the physical content sales crash, and the real issue is whether HMV has a growth strategy to emerge from it, since there certainly won’t be a reversal.

Stocking media gadgets like tablets and music players appears to be working, though puts HMV on a collision course with peers like Currys, countless other high street stores and e-tailers. HMV relaunched its digital content sales effort in 2011 but it has not yet gained tier-A consumer traction despite owning half of a jewel of UK digital media wholesaling, 7digital.

Remember, also, that HMV Retail’s figures include the benefit of growing gadget sales.

HMV still warns: “The economic environment and trading circumstances create material uncertainties which may cast doubt on the group’s ability to continue as a going concern in the future, and these uncertainties continue.”

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