HMV UK: Back from the brink

Just two years after entering administration, music retail icon HMV UK is back from the brink.

The UK-headquartered business (unrelated to the Hong Kong based HMV which just last week closed its last Singapore store) has opened 14 new stores this year; three more will open by Christmas.

Two years HMV was crippled with a £170 million debt. It axed 4000 jobs, shuttered 223 shops and everyone in the retail industry had written it off, expecting the dominance of downloadable digital entertainment to deliver the final death blow.

But retail turnaround specialists Hilco saw potential where no-one else could. They rescued the 100+ year old brand, bought the debt from the administrators and took over 140 stores

And they focused on the main rival to physical music and movie retailing: online. HMV’ eCommerce business now sells more music in the UK than – and more significantly, more than its bricjks and mortar stores.

It also caught hold of the vinyl trend – vinyl record sales soared 200 per cent in 2014 and a further 80 per cent so far this year.

Now the unthinkable is under consideration: HMV is mulling expansion internationally into at least 10 European markets via its online operations.

And it has just signed a five year licensing partnership with Qatari businessman Wissam Al Mana to take the brand into the Middle East with a debut store planned for Dubai next year.

In HMV’s case, the show isn’t over until His Master’s Voice stops singing.


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