Last year, HMV's growth figures were hailed as evidence of a store doing something right. More cynical eyes wondered if the fillip was just down to all the competitors having gone bust.
Year-on-year sales across HMV's businesses in the quarter to September 4th fell by 10 per cent; HMV itself fell by over 14%.
The reasons are clear - having enjoyed the jump of picking up rival's customers, it's now experiencing the sector's drops all on its own.
Of course, HMV won't admit this is the case; it casts about for another explanation:
Chief executive Simon Fox insisted that the danger posed by the World Cup had been flagged up earlier this year. “Suppliers deliberately do not schedule new releases when people will be watching the television,” he said. “This happens every four years.”Really? A football tournament has taken out seven of every fifty sales, has it? And "suppliers" think "well, there's a World Cup, so we won't bother releasing a DVD in the month of that. Or, for some reason, the month after that. Because people won't buy a DVD or a CD for thirty or forty days after the final whistle has blown.
Summer is always a weak period for releases, which is why you compare the period with the same weak release period from twelve months before.
Fox's plans is to expand some more - fashion (you might have seen the cringe-making Everything Everything Lee/HMV jeans ads last week) and more festivals. It might work, but the real truth is that to grow, HMV needs its rivals to die. It's a carrion corporation.