HMV 'under pressure' to restructure after Xmas shortfall

<p>A leading City analyst has predicted that HMV is likely to restructure and to sell Waterstone&#39;s after its share price dipped to a 52-week low yesterday (22nd December).<br /><br />HMV Group&#39;s share price currently stands at 28p, after reaching just over 27.2p yesterday. The entertainment company began the year with a share price near the 100p mark.<br /><br />Earlier this month, HMV Group said that the snowy weather had &quot;undermined sales&quot;, and reported total sales for the six-month period were down 6.0% to &pound;748.5m with like-for-like sales down 11.5%. Operating loss nearly doubled from &pound;21.8m in 2009 to &pound;37.3m.<br /><br />Nick Bubb, of Arden Partners, said that he was expecting a profit warning from the retailer, and for it to bring forward its Christmas trading report, due on 13th January. <br /><br />He added: &quot;The likely scenario is that management will have to focus on restructuring the group [and] breaking it up. Waterstone&#39;s will be part of that. They will be under pressure to sell it.&quot;<br /><br />He said that Christmas results for Waterstone&#39;s &quot;should be enough to justify a reasonable disposal price, whether its private equity, Tim Waterstone or another.&quot;<br /><br />In its six-month report, HMV said that the last four months of its financial year would account for 60% of its sales. The retailer has been struck by snow and decreased footfall which saw provisional overall high street figures from retail analysts Synovate report a decrease of nearly 20% footfall during the busiest Christmas shopping weekend. <br /><br />Bubb was agnostic about a fillip in the last days before Christmas: &quot;there&#39;s always scope for last-minute panic shopping, and there is one extra day this week with Christmas on a Saturday. But the consumers&#39; mentality is just &#39;buy it in the supermarkets&#39;, so HMV and Waterstone&#39;s lose more market share then they are already losing.&quot;<br /><br />He said that a Waterstone&#39;s sale was an &quot;inevitable scenario&quot; but added in a statement &quot;fortunately Waterstone&rsquo;s recovery has been going well and the new HMV Live division appears to be on track, but the growing HMV UK sales shortfall forced us to slash our full-year group profit numbers after the interims.&quot;<br /><br />An HMV spokesperson said that the group would not comment on share price or on Bubb&#39;s predictions, and said that there was &quot;a scheduled report on January 13th&quot;. </p>