“Shares in HMV Group lost as much as a quarter of their value after a profit warning from the retailer revealed 60 of its stores must be closed to avoid breaching covenants, raising fears that the group’s final dividend will be cut”. FT, 06/01/2011
This is such a shame. HMV used to be one my favourite places to buy music – it was the only place on the high street where you found stuff nobody else had. The trouble is it’s changed. Now, apart from independent music shops, there is nowhere to buy and listen to music anymore.
I’ve seen this coming for ages…HMV shops are a disaster. We all know that online sales and illegal downloading have damaged the industry, but HMV are turning it into a self fulfilling prophecy – there are just so few CDs on display, it’s like they’ve fallen out of love with them.
The layout’s horrible and the shop is bursting with half price product – trying to compete with online and supermarket budget prices. Surely His Master’s Voice is supposed to be a place for all things music? So why am I offered a pitiful headphones and music equipment section, bad t-shirts and clothing and discount books?
So, technology and new ways of buying music have taken over. To stay alive HMV needs to think of a new environment where people can buy music. Perhaps they should take a look at those who are doing them most damage. Apple. They could look at an Apple store approach – somewhere you’d like to hang out to check out all the newly released films and games.
Alternatively, they could take a closer look at fnac, France’s hugely successful music retailer. Fnac treats CDs as “cultural products”, which it sells alongside books. In the early 1990’s, both HMV and Virgin tried to enter the French market, but fnac fought back so fiercely that HMV retreated after six months, while Virgin survived only by adopting fnac’s “cultural” approach and has since changed hands twice.