HMV executive departs as results show decline

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HMV Group today has announced the departure of a key senior board member as it reported a first-half loss of £31.8m,

This was despite an improvement in sales over the Christmas trading period in the UK and Ireland.

The music and book retailer confirmed UK and Ireland managing director Steve Knott would leave the company "by mutual consent" at the end of January after 16 years with the company.

The group’s chief executive Simon Fox will take over the role in an interim capacity while the search for a permanent successor gets underway.

The announcement coincided with the group’s first half results showing a decline in overall group sales to £767.2m in the 26 weeks to October 28 from £759.7m a year earlier.

The company also saw like-for-like sales across its UK and Ireland operations fall 8.6% accompanied by an improvement at the division over Christmas.

Fox, who joined the retailer just three months ago taking over from outgoing chief Alan Giles, attributes the disappointing results to "difficult entertainment markets" in all of its operating businesses compounded by tough competition from supermarkets and online retailers.

Fox says the group will combat the decline with plans to reinvent its stores introducing new products and potentially music downloading terminals. The company will update the market on its progress in March.

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