HMV (UK) aims for online sales to hit 20 percent

HMV (UK) aims for online sales to hit 20 percent

Music retailer HMV (UK) is expecting its online business to account for a fifth of its sales within the next three years and will launch its own social networking site to drive sales.

The company, which also owns bookseller Waterstone's, announced sales of £1.9 billion (US$3.7 billion) in its annual results for the year ending April 28, up 3.8 percent on last year. But HMV admits it is operating in difficult market conditions, and has seen a 3.5 percent fall in like for like sales over the year.

In a statement released with the results, chief executive Simon Fox said the company must grow by adapting to a new multichannel environment, and signalled a strong focus on the internet.

"We are investing in our existing transactional sites, hmv.co.uk and Waterstones.com, by integrating them into our stores and increasing the level of marketing support they receive," Fox said.

"By 2010 we expect hmv.co.uk to become 20 percent of HMV U.K.'s sales and Waterstones.com to represent 9 percent of Waterstone's sales."

HMV would integrate both traditional CDs and digital music into its website to allow customers to buy either a physical or downloadable product from a single site, he said.

The company would launch its own social networking site to boost sales to consumers who are increasingly "absorbing entertainment content from nontraditional channels and sources", Fox said.

The website would let users create home pages, meet others and access film previews, behind-the-scenes footage and music performances.

In the past year HMV has also integrated recent acquisition Ottakar's into its Waterstone's business. The integration was "completed successfully and on time", with the Waterstone's stock management system introduced into all stores and Ottakar's back office integrated with Waterstone's in time for the busy Christmas period, the company reported.

Further consolidation of back office systems and centralization of procurement across the HMV Group is expected to deliver cost savings of £40 million a year by 2010.

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