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HMV’s CEO Alan Giles set to quit

LONDON: Music company HMV Group’s chief executive officer Alan Giles is intending to quit the company, according to newspaper reports Wednesday. Giles is expected to announce the decision when the company comes out with its interim first-half results and update on Christmas sales Thursday, according to the reports.

The company did not comment on the report.

Giles has been holding the position in HMV since 1999. He has been credited with successfully steering the group through its 2002 flotation on the London Stock Exchange.

There are rumours that the music and book retailer had poor Christmas sales. In case Giles, 51, announces his decision to quit, he will be the first victim of the retail downturn. His departure will probably stall HMV’s attempt to acquire smaller rival Ottakar’s. The deal has been mired in controversy and has come in for criticism by book publishers and authors. It is now under referral to the Competition Commission.

Ottakar’s is also a target for another rival, WH Smith Group, where Giles was employed previously, although a deal may still require the Competition Commission’s approval. WH Smith will be required to sell some of Ottakar’s shops.

In September, Giles had warned of a gloomy outlook for the company. He had told the regulator that HMV’s like-for-like sales in the first 21 weeks of the financial year had fallen 9.2 per cent. He had also said at the time he could not remember a worse three months during his career in retail.

The company is severely exposed to the clout of internet and downloads of music and books have been a direct threat to its operations. The music sector is perceived to be most affected by the advent of online sale digital content.

HMV has some 580 stores in eight countries.

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