HMV brand at risk as administrators called in
The future of the 92-year-old HMV brand is in question after the entertainment retailer called in administrators, putting more than 4,000 jobs at risk.
The 239 HMV stores in the UK and Ireland, website and 9 Fopp stores will continue to trade while Deloitte seeks a buyer for the brand.
The troubled retailer, which has seen sales ravaged by online rivals such as Amazon and Play.com and is widely seen to have been slow in exploiting the popularity of downloading, warned earlier this month it would likely breach banking covenants after reporting that sales slumped 13.5 per cent over the crucial festive trading period.
HMV, which opened its first store on London’s Oxford Street in 1921, has been propped up by suppliers such as Universal and Sony over the last year but the backing was not enough to avoid administration.
HMV says in a statement that it has been in discussions with banks and stakeholders since December “however, the board regrets to announce that it has been unable to reach a position where it feels able to continue to trade outside of insolvency protection….”
About 4,350 jobs, including marketing and e-commerce director Mark Hodgkinson and his team, are at risk. Even if a buyer is found, analysts say it is unlikely a new owner will keep all 239 shops open if any at all.
Neil Saunders, managing director of Conlumino, says there is no future for HMV using its current business model.
“HMV remains, to this day, a respected and loved brand. Our emotional connection with music means that consumers, of all ages, will have fond memories of the store. However, emotions don’t pay the bills and the blunt truth is that HMV did not react early enough to the digital trend; it did not give shoppers a reason to keep buying from it.”
He adds: “The brand certainly has some value, however, while someone could arguably turn a profit in running some of the stores for a period of time they would still be betting against the future.”
HMV has been trying to rebalance its product mix, redesigning stores to highlight technology products. It also recently overhauled its multi-channel offering, providing customers with digital versions of physical products at point of sale, a click and collect service and in-store Wi-Fi.
Read Rosie Baker’s opinion on what will happen to the HMV brand next here.