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Books, DVDs sell but WHSmith, HMV miss out


Books and DVDs will be the top two selling products this Christmas, but a new study suggests that traditional high street retailers will not be the main port of call for customers this festive season.

A Verdict Research survey of 4,000 consumers shows that 58 and 57 per cent of people respectively will purchase books and DVDs, with just 20 and 19 per cent shopping at WHSmith and Waterstone’s for the former.

The research indicates that 57 per cent of shoppers will favour internet shopping and will buy their books from online retailer Amazon.

And although 26 per cent said they would shop in HMV for DVDs, this is just half the number who say they will use Amazon to get hold of the same type of product.

This follows the publication of HMV Group’s results last week, which highlighted a retailer in trouble after losses almost doubled in the first half of the year.

Like-for-like trading at the entertainment retailer, which owns HMV and Waterstone’s, fell 11.5 per cent in the 26 weeks to October 23rd - and total sales dropped six per cent to £749.5 million.

Retail Consultant at Verdict Katherine Miles said: “This year’s top gifts reflect the cautious mood amongst shoppers.

“They tend to be of low average cost but are also practical things that will be kept and used, so they represent good value for money as well.

“For most consumers being able to buy what want with a couple of clicks while sitting in their home or office is a real benefit.

“Not many people want to venture out into the cold and push through the crowds to buy functional items like books and music.”

Boxed chocolates, CDs and individual bottles of perfume will make up the top five Christmas gifts, according to Verdict.

Meanwhile price comparison website Price Inspector suggests the top presents for the technically-minded this festive season include the XBox Kinect, PlayStation Move, Apple’s range of iPads, new iPod Nano and iPhone 4, and Samsung’s Galaxy Tablet.

Published on Monday 13 December by Editorial Assistant

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