HMV reported sales for the first six months of their fiscal year (ending October 25), showing revenue of 235.1 million pounds at their Waterstone’s unit declined 3.8 percent overall, and 3.1 percent on a same-store sales basis. The company notes that without the impact of last year’s release of Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows, same-store sales declined just 1.4 percent.
The bookseller showed an operating loss of 9.3 million pounds for the period, 4.5 percent more than last year’s loss of 8.9 million pounds. The company says increases in costs included 1.5 million pounds towards their supply chain overhaul.
They say in the announcement that “this reflected a very challenging book market, which contracted by over 5 percent in the period, impacted particularly by poor performance in the non-fiction category. Waterstone’s grew share marginally, reflecting the benefit of continued online growth and the success of the Waterstone’s loyalty card.”
Of greater concern is the company’s warning that in the period since this report, “tn particular, the book market has seen a marked deterioration in the five-week period to 29 November.” Though HMV didn’t quantify that
deterioration, the Telegraph gave an indication in a separate story
yesterday. Revenue from sales at high street booksellers (Waterstone’s,
as well as
WH Smith and others) fell 12.7 percent in the single week ending
December 6–almost five
points worse than the overall decline in sales tracked by Nielsen
BookScan. The newspaper says “high street book sales are plummeting as
discounting, the growth of internet operators such as Amazon and
dwindling consumer spending hits retailers.” As a result, “discounting
is becoming more aggressive as retailers fight to win customers with
consumer spending dwindling in the wake of the economic downturn.”