Page last updated at 12:43 GMT, Thursday, 11 December 2008

Book sales fall hits Waterstone's

Jade Goody at her book launch
Without Harry Potter, Waterstone's is searching for magic elsewhere

HMV has said that falling demand for books has dented sales at its Waterstone's business as it suffers from a downturn in consumer spending.

Like-for-like sales dropped by 3.1% in the 26 weeks to 25 October - and by 1.4% when adjusted for the impact of the final Harry Potter book last year.

Sales of music rose, HMV said, while its move into video games was also paying off, though sales have slowed.

Group pre-tax losses narrowed to £27.5m from £28.7m a year earlier.

Like-for-like sales at the HMV music chain were ahead 1.6%, with operating losses over the six months - traditionally its quieter half of the year - narrowing by £400,000 to £12.7m.

Celebrity factor

Shares in HMV fell sharply after analysts downgraded profit forecasts in the wake of the results - but later pared most losses.

Seymour Pierce analyst Freddie George said he expected the firm to make an annual profit of £58m, from the £65m previously predicted.

"Game sales are slowing, CD and DVD sales are up against difficult comparatives over the last 18 months and there is the long term niggling concern that downloading will take ever greater sales of DVDs and CDs," he added.

HMV said that the book market had seen a "marked deterioration" in the five weeks to 29 November - a key part of the pre-Christmas trading period.

A downturn in spending on celebrity hardback books - a mainstay of the Christmas trade - was affecting the book market, HMV chief executive Simon Fox said.

"I would say the number of titles and quality of titles is the same year-on-year. But rate of sale is lower than last year and lower than we would want them to be. They are clearly a discretionary spend."

Print Sponsor


SEE ALSO
HMV reports weaker sales growth
05 Sep 08 |  Business
Strong video game sales help HMV
01 Jul 08 |  Business


FEATURES, VIEWS, ANALYSIS
Has China's housing bubble burst?
How the world's oldest clove tree defied an empire
Why Royal Ballet principal Sergei Polunin quit

BBC navigation

BBC © 2014 The BBC is not responsible for the content of external sites. Read more.

This page is best viewed in an up-to-date web browser with style sheets (CSS) enabled. While you will be able to view the content of this page in your current browser, you will not be able to get the full visual experience. Please consider upgrading your browser software or enabling style sheets (CSS) if you are able to do so.

Americas Africa Europe Middle East South Asia Asia Pacific