Sales once again plumbed the depths, falling a further 1.87% to 1,505,788, their lowest level since week 20, 1998 - 688 weeks ago - and 25.73% below the same week 2010 sales of 2,027,196. It follows the tumble to a 636-week low only last week.
Adele's 21 tops the chart again, with sales of 46,648 copies - a 7.10% increase week-on-week - after being installed as joint favourite for the Mercury Music Prize. Number one for 18 weeks, and number two for eight, 21 has sold 2,764,356 copies after being on release for exactly six months. It is the 40th album in history to sell more than 2.5m copies, and the 10th biggest seller of the 21st century.
Incredibly, all 10 are by British acts. 21 having just pushed the top foreign album, The Scissor Sisters' eponymous debut, into 11th place (2,734,556 sales).
21 will undoubtedly catapult to the top of the 21st century rankings before the end of the year.
Meanwhile, the nine albums ahead of it, and their sales to date, are as follows:
1 Back To Bedlam - James Blunt (3,239,713 sales)
2 No Angel - Dido (3,062,777)
3 Spirit - Leona Lewis (3,034,653)
4 White Ladder - David Gray (2,940,575)
5 1 - The Beatles (2,898,235)
6 Life For Rent - Dido (2,866,350)
7 Beautiful World - Take That (2,820,079)
8 A Rush Of Blood To The Head - Coldplay (2,768,947)
9 Hopes And Fears - Keane (2,761,649) .
A notable absentee from the list is Back To Black, the second album by Amy Winehouse, who died tragically on Saturday at the age of 27.
For OCC purposes, the album's sales are split between the original (2,262,399) and deluxe double disc version (824,764), with a further 5,035 sales from the Back To Black/Frank double disc set.
Overall sales of 3,092,198 would place the album second on the list above. Inevitably, Winehouse's death will result in a huge surge in sales of Back To Black and her entire catalogue a week hence but occurred too late on Saturday to make much of an impression on the current lists:
The original Back To Black album re-enters the chart at number 59 (2,446 sales, up 299.00%) and the deluxe edition re-enters at number 163 (843 sales, up 848.70%). On the singles chart, Back To Black re-emerges at number 81 (3,522 sales, up 262.60%) and Rehab 100 places lower (1,436 sales, up 573.15%). Winehouse's overall UK sales: 1,753,418 singles and 3,982,571 albums.
With 21 remaining at number one, and 19 staying third (19,793 sales), Beyonce's 4 continuing at number two (25,257 sales), Caro Emerald's Deleted Scenes From The Cutting Floor rising 6-4 (14,557 sales) to reach a new peak on its eighth week in the Top 10, and Lady GaGa's Born This Way retreating 4-5 (13,265 sales), the entire top five is made up of female solo artists for only the second time in chart history.
The first time was just 15 weeks ago, when Katy B, Rihanna and Jessie J supplemented the customary double dose of Adele. Perhaps surprisingly, female solo artists occupied all of the top four places as long ago as 21 October 1989, when Kylie Minogue, Tracy Chapman, Tina Turner and Gloria Estefan dominated. Tears For Fears were number five, without which Liza Minnelli would have completed an all-female top five.
LMFAO's Sorry For Party Rocking is the week's highest debuting album, entering at number eight (8,667 sales).
21 isn't the only Mercury Prize nominee to increase sales last week - Katy B's On A Mission bounces 26-22 (5,330 sales, 7.7% increase), Elbow's Build A Rocket Boys! jumps 34-21 (5,501 sales, 34% increase), and PJ Harvey's Let England Shake powers 109-50 (2,888 sales., 115.1% increase). Tinie Tempah's Disc-Overy climbs 37-30, though with a slight decrease in sales. The Cinderella of the group is pianist Gwilym Simcock's jazz set Good Days At Scloss Elmau, which had previously sold 886 copies since it was released in January. It increases its sales week-on-week by 619.18%, from just 11 to 79.
Finally, with UK sales of 3.362m in their own right, Kylie Minogue's five EMI albums - Light Years (2000), Fever (2001), Body Language (2003), X (2007) and Aphrodite (2010) - have been boxed under the title The Albums 2000-2010, and earn the 43 year old Aussie her 19th chart entry some 23 years after her chart-topping opener Kylie, debuting at number 37 (3,729 sales).