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Last Updated: Tuesday, 27 May 2008, 08:07 GMT 09:07 UK
Woolworths to ditch CD singles
Sales of CD singles have been hit by the popularity of downloads

High street chain Woolworths has said it will stop selling CD singles in its stores.

The group said that the format was in "terminal decline" and will be removed from the shelves from August.

Sales of CD singles have fallen sharply as the popularity of downloading music from the internet has increased.

However, it will continue to stock one-off releases, such as the X Factor winner, which the retailer says still sells hundreds of thousands of copies.

Sales plunge

Figures show that this year sales are a third of what they were in 2007 and the market is less than a sixth of what it was eight years ago.

78 million CD, tape and vinyl singles were bought in 1999 - the height of the physical single's popularity - but this fell to only eight million CD singles in 2007.

Jim Batchelor, Woolworths commercial director, said: "Digital downloading is now the true customer choice for listening and purchasing single music tracks.

"CDs are alive and well for album sales, but unfortunately the physical singles market is in terminal decline."

Woolworths is the UK's biggest singles' retailer and has already reduced availability in half its 820 stores.

The company has now shifted its focus to downloads and this week launched a revamped site covering music, games, video and mobile content.

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