HMV bans staff tattoos to boost customer experience

HMV has banned staff from sporting ‘prominent’ tattoos and body piercings in a bid to boost the in-store experience for shoppers.


The updated policy expects a “high level of personal grooming”, according to the retailer and instructs staff to cover up or remove tattoos and ‘extreme body art’.

A spokesman for the business says ‘discrete tattoos or piercings’, however are allowed under the new policy.

He adds: “This is an update to points that were already covered in our existing policy about how staff should appear in the workplace. We want staff to express their personalities but this has to be balanced with customer expectations.”

In a further statement the company said: “It goes without saying that we want our work colleagues to feel valued as individuals who can express their personalities, but it’s also important that we balance this against the needs and expectations of our customers, who, ultimately, have to be at the heart of everything we do. We’d like to think our colleagues are presentable anyway, so this is just about adopting a more consistent approach, which we believe our customers will appreciate.”

The policy has been brought in by the retailer’s new chief executive Trevor Moore, who joined last month after Simon Fox stepped down from the role earlier in the year.

It is hoped the move will help boost sales at the business after it reported a 12.1% decrease in like-for-like sales to £923.2m for the year to 28 April.

Readers' comments (44)

  • It's not tattoos that keep me away from HMV, it's their high prices

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  • this is stupid, the majority of CUSTOMERS!!! are tattood/pierced and go BECAUSE of this!! or enjoy the staff to look like who they are/want to be. i believe this will result in loss of customers

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  • I would think that the company, leading into a make-or-break Christmas for them, would have more pressing issues to worry about. I have shopped at HMV for years and the thing I have valued most is the staff's knowledge and approachability. I think it's the staff that sets them apart from every other retailer on the high street. This will make them a faceless conformity on an already bland market. It smells of desperation to me and will not turn them a profit! Sad times...

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  • Ridiculous, for years we have been encouraged to follow the "loose fit" policy of being yourself, and putting the customer at ease, but now this. We don't see how this could positively change cash flow in any way. As an employee, I never thought I would hear myself say this, but I hope the company folds before christmas, because it's just not HMV anymore.

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  • Absolutely stupid! Tattoos and piercings aren't going to keep customers away! A massive chunk of the music,film & game industry either display body art or piercings so as far as I'm concerned this is absolutely stupid. Just another way that the men at the top can issue control and feel like they are actually giving to their company rather than sitting around gossiping and drinking coffee that their PA brought them.

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  • Well done HMV, what a perfect way to alienate your customers, I'm tattooed and therefore will be boycotting your stores and shopping elsewhere that doesn't discriminate personal choice.

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  • This has to be one of the most irrelevant moves i have seen form a company in a very long time.
    To assume that their sales are down because staff have a few tattoos is just someone looking to place blame, HMV need to realise that its not their staff but the music industry in general which is causing there loss of sales.
    personally i think that this move is discrimination to people with tattoos. Lets look at earlier news this week with the couple that were turned down by a wedding venue because the groom-to-be has 2 piercings in his ear.
    We now live in a society that excepts people for how they look and what they chose to put on their body. HMV for me has always been a bit rock and wrong i seem to be!!

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  • I'd prefer it if they just concentrated on better customer service.

    As for the Tattoos.... I say the more the merrier.

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  • I have shopped at HMV since a teenager and always liked the fact that the staff were themselves and you could almost, without sounding stereotypical, pick out the staff member who would potentially know the most about what type of music you liked.

    I think they need to worry more about the drop in sales we keep hearing about than turning their staff into the usual brand conformists!

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  • So the company will remove all product produced by all artists who do not conform to their ridiculous dress rule? If not, why not? It would be hypocracy.

    What we see are the Grey Corporate Drones at work. No idea. not a clue, desperately scrabbling about for someone to pin the blame on for lack of sales other than themselves. Trevor, the new head drone, is a fool if he thinks he understands the deep culture involved with music and its buyers. I work there now and cant believe this arrogant automaton is treating the music buying public like people who go to Tesco. No matter, he'll drive the company under and just hop onto his next directorship. Nice work if you can get it.

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