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HMV focuses online, expanding its digital and live divisions

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Music-to-DVD retailer HMV is to focus on its digital and live offerings as it looked to reshape its business for the future.

The news came as parent company the HMV Group, which has issued three profit warnings so far this year, said in a statement to the City that it had renegotiated its bank debt. The company has replaced its £240m bank facility with facilities totaling £220m at an interest rate of 4% above the London interbank lending rate, LIBOR.

HMV has suffered in recent years as it struggles to sell DVDs and CDs from a business that is still firmly rooted in the high street against stiff competition from online-only retailers such as Amazon and Play.com who do not have the costs associated with shops.

The HMV Group is currently selling Waterstone’s, in a deal expected to close on June 28, and today gave a brief indication of its strategy following that deal. It said today that would include evolving “the group’s product mix and growing in live and digital.”

As well selling through its shops, HMV currently sells online through its website while its HMV Digital site sells MP3s to download from a catalogue of more than 8m songs and audiobooks.

“In particular,” HMV Group said today, “this strategy will focus on rebalancing the store space and range through the expansion of HMV’s technology offering and exploiting growth opportunities for the group’s live venues, festivals and ticketing businesses.”

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