A lack of major music, video and videogame releases last summer was a key reason for the slump in entertainment sales in 2012, say industry experts.

Many suppliers shied away from releasing key titles last summer to avoid clashing with the Olympic Games, according to trade body the Entertainment Retailers Association, which stated this was a major factor in the 12% year-on-year decline in the value of the UK entertainment market to £4.21bn.

This has prompted ERA to renew its calls for publishers to spread releases out across the year rather than focus on the last three months.

“Suppliers need to do more to rebalance their release schedules and improve the quality of their releases,” said ERA director general Kim Bayley. “No retailer can afford to pay overheads on a store for 52 weeks of the year if all the key releases are going to be concentrated in the last quarter.”

“Luckily the message appears to be getting through and we look forward to being able to offer the public a much better release slate in 2013.”

Hardest hit during 2012 were sales of physical videogame formats – primarily console games – which crashed 26.4% year-on-year, although a 7.7% increase in digital videogame downloads softened the overall decline in games sales to 17.4%.

Videogames make up more than half the digital downloads market, which rose 11.4% year-on-year overall to break the £1bn barrier for the first time in 2012, while sales of all physical formats fell.

In the digital market, video showed the most growth at,  20.3%,  which ERA said reflected the relatively undeveloped nature of the category, adding that music’s 15.1% digital growth was impressive given that it was the most established of the three digital markets.