Aftermath of Big Freeze adds Further Misery to retailers as HMV Plan to Close 60 Stores

HMV set to close 60 stores

HMV set to close 60 stores

Music retailing giants HMV have announced that they are to close 60 of its 285 stores across Britain and Ireland.

The cold snap across Britain this Christmas brought misery for retailers this Christmas with trading figures highlighting a considerable slump in sales.

General spending was down in comparison to last year’s figures, with snow and ice making it even more difficult for retailers to attract business.

The release of music chain HMV’s figures today, highlights the effect the weather had on its peak trading season. The figures show a 13.6% drop in HMV like-for-like sales in The UK and Ireland in the weeks leading up to Christmas, with profits from now until April expected to be around the bottom of the current range of city forecasts.

The company have yet to announce which stores it will close, but highlighted that its core entertainment markets remained weak and highlighted the need for a turnaround strategy.

HMV were not the only company to report a drop in sales, as fashion chain ‘Next’ today announced that the snow cost them £22 million in sales this Christmas. The company estimate that 2.2% of their seasonal total sales were lost as a direct result of the snow.

The fashion company stated that it still remains on track to improve profits of up to 10% in the year to the end of January, while HMV were not so positive when they admitted to facing a battle to meet a forthcoming coming test on its bank covenants.

Along with the closure of 60 stores the music giants will also seek £10 million a year in cost savings, as its stock market value is now just over £100 million as shares fell 20% today after the figures were announced.

Retail analyst David Jeary, of Investec Securities believes; ‘the core HMV division remains under considerable stress as a format and this must raise questions over its long-term future.’

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