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Universal suffers slide in sales

Major sales for the likes of pop diva Lady Gaga, left, and Florence & the Machine failed to prevent falling half-year revenues at record label Universal Music, figures showed yesterday.

Universal Music Group saw sales drop 5.4 per cent – or 7.9 per cent with currency effects stripped out – in the first six months of 2010, according to interim results from its French parent Vivendi.

But the woes at Universal did not hold profits back at Vivendi, which raised its full-year guidance after seeing a 4 per cent hike in net profit to €1.53bn (£1.26bn) during the first half. Vivendi's empire also includes French pay TV channel Canal+ and a majority stake in French telecom operator SFR.

It said Universal Music revenues were hit by fewer major local and international releases and the decline in demand for CDs as digital sales and downloading take a greater share.

Alongside Lady Gaga, artists signed to Universal include the Black Eyed Peas, Eminem and teen pop sensation Justin Bieber.

Its pipeline of releases for the second half of 2010 include albums by Welsh singer Duffy, Mariah Carey, Kanye West and the Black Eyed Peas.

Vivendi posted overall revenues of €13.98bn for the six months to 30 June, up 6.1 per cent on a year earlier.