Music chain HMV has announced the closure of 66 stores at the expense of 930 jobs
Leading high-street entertainment retailer HMV, who went into administration last month following poor Christmas sales, have announced that 66 of their 233 stores will be closed. This will not include flagship stores in London’s Piccadilly Circus and Oxford Street.
Although no fixed dates have been given for the closure of the stores, appointed administrators Deloitte have stated this move is a necessary part of the restructuring process. Joint administrator Nick Edwards released the following statement:
‘As part of our ongoing review of HMV’s financial position, we have now completed a review of the store portfolio and have identified 66 loss-making stores for closure. This step has been taken in order to enhance the prospects of securing the business’ future as a going concern.’
However, there is still life in the Master’s Voice according to an 11.6% rise in UK music sales during January. Boss of the retail trade body, Katy Bayley, told CMU recently that the strong start to 2013 demonstrates the resilience of both the seller and consumer.
‘It certainly demonstrates that there is far more robust demand for music than is often assumed. There has been a significant public reaction to the threat to HMV. Stores have been inundated with customers concerned that they may lose their local store and this appears to have translated into sales.’
My two cents
Hark back to 2010 and 6Music’s revival from the brink of cessation through to its crowning as UK station of the year in 2012, which defied the permeating post-2008 notion of frivolously ‘cutting out financial waste’ in favour of collective support for diverse broadcasting and in turn, broadening one’s musical knowledge. The long tail created by Amazon and online retailers is in one way opening up these same doors, in a way HMV, bogged down by limited shelf space, can never do.
I proudly held my head up high and paraded into Westfield’s HMV last weekend to demonstrate my support, only to swiftly turn around and walk back out again when the bargain bucket of musical delights resembled what I’d find at any large Sainsburys or Tesco store. No obvious world, folk or classical sections, and even my beloved metal and hip-hop categories were reduced to a mere row each.
I’m happy to accept that for all their recent troubles, new stock has not arrived since December and perhaps this justifies the bland nature of the CDs on shelves. Yet for all the parading of musical diversity that 1.2 million Radio6 listeners aspire to, if HMV cannot represent this movement in their stores in the future, then perhaps the voice has really choked after all.
Of course the main percentile buy Top40 albums, of course any pop act will always out-sell a world act 100-to-1, but it is precisely that dominant percentile who will be more inclined to buy on Amazon, stream on Spotify and utilise the wonders of internet downloading.
No one wants to see the end of the high-street record store; however, one can only hope the administrators and those in HMV listen to the informed buyer, for at no other time in media history has their opinion been of more importance than now.
*These are the thoughts of the writer and not representative of Songlines’ viewpoint