19 Dec 2011

HMV bids to sell live music division

The struggling music retailer will bid to sell the live music arm of the business in an attempt to boost finances, after its half-year losses nearly doubled.

HMV to sell live music division (reuters)

HMV Live runs 13 venues and a number of festivals, including London’s Lovebox festival and Global Gathering near Stratford-upon-Avon.

The group, which recently sold off the bookseller Waterstone’s, said today that HMV live would be placed under strategic review.

Shares in the company fell by 10 per cent following the news. HMV previously announced the closure of 60 shops in a bid to make £10m in savings.

The recent shift towards technology products, which has seen 144 out of 252 stores refitted, has generated growth in the company with like-for-like sales of headphones, speakerdocks and tablet computers up by 144 per cent. And in the first half of the year total company sales were up 8.2 per cent to £3.2m.

But the company revealed a bottom-line pre-tax loss of £45.7m in the 26 weeks to October 29, compared to £7.4m last year. Like-for-like retail sales also fell by 13.2 per cent in the seven weeks to December 17.

The company said that the HMV Live portfolio had grown since the financial crisis, with attendance at its summer festivals up by 20 per cent on a like-for-like basis and spending per head at live venues up by 10 per cent.