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"Biggest ever Christmas" for HMV

Total sales up 5.8 per cent; successful launch of pre-owned games offering in 2008

HMV has enjoyed its "biggest ever Christmas" in the UK and Ireland according to chief exec Simon Fox, recording a rise in sales of 5.8 per cent for the five weeks ended Jan 3, a growth in like-for-like sales of 3 per cent.

Total group sales were up 2.9 per cent, a marginal like-for-like rise of 0.5 per cent. Sales at HMV International were down 3.6 per cent, and down at the groups book stores, Waterstone's.

Although videogame sales were not detailed in the statement, the company did note the "successful launch of pre-played games in HMV UK" during 2008.

"It is pleasing to be able to report that the Group performed well over Christmas against a very difficult consumer environment. Indeed, HMV UK enjoyed its biggest ever Christmas," commented chief executive Simon Fox.

"Whilst trading conditions continue to be challenging, HMV Group is focused on delivering against its plan and taking advantage of the opportunities arising from the reshaping of the competitive landscape, and we are on track to meet our expectations for the full year."

As well as buying 14 Zavvi stores, the company is also branching out into live music and events thorough a partnership with MAMA Group

HMV also noted a growth in online sales of 25 per cent.

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