Britain’s sole surviving music chain has racked up a £40m loss for the six months to October after suffering in the face of ferocious competition from supermarkets, downloads, piracy and online sales.
The dire figures cast a pall over the future of the company, with many analysts are already predicting a wave of store closures and job losses in the New Year.
Christmas would ordinarily account for around a third of HMV’s sales with desirable titles like Call of Duty: Black Ops and Take That expected to pull in punters, but the icy weather has taken an early toll on footfall.
Simon Fox, HMV’s chief executive, said he “hoped” there would remain a niche for a High Street entertainment specialist, pinning his hopes on a diversification of the retailer’s income by entering the live music scene and teaming up with Curzon to open cinemas.
HMV’s rivals, Woolworths and Zavvi, collapsed during the early months of the recession.