Games market underperforms for HMV

Sales of games down 12% overall, but second hand titles up 45%

The videogame market has been singled out as one of the key entertainment sectors that has underperformed for retailer HMV.

Overall sales for the business in the UK and Ireland were down by 15.3 per cent for the 26 weeks ended October 23, and total group sales down 6 per cent to 749.5 million. The company recorded a pre-tax loss 41.3 million.

"The changes that we have made to our business have been against the backdrop of difficult entertainment markets, particularly games, which underperformed against our expectations," said the company in a statement.

"The most challenging market in the period was games, which declined by 12 per cent in addition to a 30 per cent fall in the same period last year. However, HMV held share and continued to rapidly develop its pre-played games offer, with sales up 45 per cent in the period."

Although games haven't met expectations, HMV said it expected Kinect, Call of Duty: Black Ops, Assassin's Creed: Brotherhood and FIFA 11 to perform well over the Christmas period.

While games were down, new technology has been a growth area for the entertainment retailer, particularly Apple's iPad.

"The increased seasonal loss reflects the tough trading conditions in HMV UK, where good progress in growing new product categories was not sufficient to offset weak entertainment markets," added CEO Simon Fox.

Yesterday GAME released interim results that showed a similar pattern of declining overall sales, despite growth in the second hand market.

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Latest comments (9)

Antony Carter Senior Programmer, Epic Games7 years ago
isnt it obvious to them that there customers are just preferring to buy pre owned rather than new, but im sure they will try to make out pre owned sales has no effect on new sales and its just because the new games aren't as good this year, or people have less money.
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Wesley Williams Quality Assurance 7 years ago
-12% new game sales
+45% pre-owned game sales

And people wonder why developers complain at retail pushing pre-owned so much.
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Edward Fairclough Freelance games journalist 7 years ago
I'm not surprised they're doing bad, I saw Vanquish in there the other day for £49.99! They are so expensive
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Show all comments (9)
Kingman Cheng Illustrator and Animator 7 years ago
Stop being so freaking expensive then we'll talk!

You're selling games for 40-50 quid, what are you expecting?

Sainsbury's did Assassins Creed for like 20 or 30 quid, that flew off the shelves. Get a clue!

Edited 2 times. Last edit by Kingman Cheng on 9th December 2010 12:45pm

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JJ Studying Digital Media & Multimedia Technology, London Metropolitan University7 years ago
Such an interesting article, I used to work at HMV on their games department. I'm now going to write my experience with them as a post on my blog site. I can detail down do a 'T', everything that is wrong with their operation. This includes scrutiny of their operations from an ex-Gamestation store manager who won manager of the year for the company before he departed! I cannot speak for all HMV branches, however the one I worked in had a separate department for Games, and was a shambles (apparently it still is).

Believe me, HMV is not a great company to work for. I have truly been let down by the brand, who don't seem to know their customers any more. This is key to running a 'record shop' primarily dealing in music, a simple key element of business is knowing your customers.
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Beth Giddins7 years ago
I had a friend work in the HMV games dept and got treated really bad. As an ex gamestation employee he understood how game sales worked but HMV refused to believe that there was money to be had by videogame sales and thought everything else was more important. Agreed with Jason, he was very let down by the company and was eventually squeezed out on technicalities. They preferred untrained inexperienced staff apparently. The guys in head office definately need to take a closer look inside their stores.
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Colin.J.C. Garstang Intellectual artist 7 years ago
Errr.... Hello? Recession anyone?
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Sam Maxted Journalist / Community / Support 7 years ago
HMV gives a decent wedge of cash for trade-ins (the last time I checked, some prices paid were double those of Game / Gamestation), but as at least one other person has said, their games are simply too expensive at present. They've effectively priced themselves out of the market.
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Lee Pumford Studying FDA computer games design, St Helens College7 years ago
Nobody wants to buy from HMV preowned either because they're stupidly overpriced. Games that you can pick up in Cex, Gamestation & Game for 9.99 HMV will still be selling for 19.99.
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