Sorry if this has already been posted, but things continue to slide...
Beleaguered HMV, the music to books retailer, will confirm it is selling its Japanese division when it delivers its annual results this week.
In March new chief executive Simon Fox hinted at the possible disposal as part of a wider shake-up, including store closures and cost-cutting, designed to arrest a dramatic slump in profitability.
HMV, which also owns Waterstone's, is expected to announce profits of just £50m on sales of £1.9bn on Thursday, a far cry from the near-£130m achieved in 2005. Its share price has fallen almost 30 per cent over the last year.
Fox wants HMV to be the market leader in all in its territories. In Japan it is number three, with an 8 per cent share. The auction is understood to be well advanced, with Tokyo retailer Culture Convenience Club considered the front-runner. Analysts would approve of the sale and are attaching a price tag in excess of £75m.
HMV had been criticised by analysts for the lack of speed with which it has responded to the threat posed to its business by the supermarkets, internet rivals and music downloads. All its markets are challenged, with sales of CDs and DVDs expected to contract by 26 per cent and 17 per cent respectively by 2010. Book sales should increase by 2 per cent but the proceeds are expected to be banked over the internet rather than in HMV's Waterstone's stores.
As part of Fox's plans to rejuvenate HMV's UK chain, the retailer is putting the finishing touches to what it claims will be a new breed of music shop. The first two trial outlets are expected to open in August. New features include letting customers burn their own CDs in store while sipping a smoothie at a 'refreshment hub'.
Yeah a burning program and a bunch of fruit juice is going to get people back into stores. Yeah like we don't have them IN OUR OWN HOMES!
Ignore the fact that Daydream nation is £10 in HMV but £5 in stores, yeah ignore the mass price differences online too like the new Locust for £15!!!!!!! when it's £6 off Amazon. Gahd!