It has been a while since I last wrote about HMV so I thought I should do some digging and see what has been happening to the once iconic British brand of late.
Isle of Wight store to close
The Isle of Wight County Press released an article this week stating that the only HMV on the island, which was in Newport, is due to close on October 19th.
The reason given was that an agreement with the landlord could be reached. The sign went into more details, stating that the landlord would not commit to HMV being a tenant, and apparently sought a convenience store to be the new occupants. This is presumably because they are perceived as more reliable with payments.
This is absolute proof of what I previously predicted about HMV. They are very much at the mercy of the landlords, who actually were part of the problem in the first place. Their unfavourable tenancy terms were detrimental to cash flow, and made it hard for HMV to operate month to month. Favourable terms are being negotiated with some landlords, though obviously in this instance nothing could be arranged.
HMV are said to be consulting with the 12 staff members about redeployment.
Hilco speaks out about changes that are coming
Writing for NME on the week that the flagship 363 Oxford Street store reopened, Hilco chief executive and HMV chairman, Paul McGowen, explained some of the changes to be coming HMV’s way.
The blog identified 5 core changes that are meant to turn around HMV’s fortunes. The bullet list version is:
- Improve what we stock
- Relaunch our digital store
- Increase the number of Fopp stores
- In-store gigs
- Listen to local stores
Some of these suggestions are incredibly obvious, like relaunching the digital store. McGowen stated HMV “got left behind in the digital revolution” and said we can expect to hear more in the next month.
Improving what they stock is also quite a sensible, run of the mill market idea, but the exploration of kickstarting ‘in-store gigs’ again is very exciting. McGowen states it wouldn’t just be big names, and makes reference to stores in Ireland dedicating evenings to ‘breaking local bands’ and how that could work in the UK. Obviously there will be big named acts too, with a tease comment that ‘one of the biggest names in the world’ will be announced to play in the Oxford Street store around October 18th.
The last comment, about listening to local stores is also very interesting. After my very first article on HMV was written I spoke to an anonymous source high up in HMV, and they stated that giving stores more autonomy was important. Music scenes vary across the country, and that should be reflected in stores.
Starting from next week (week commencing October 13th) HMV will be giving away free vinyl at the new 363 Oxford Street store.
The promotional move will see records by The Beatles, New Order, Elvis Presley and Robbie Williams will be given out each day during the week, on a first come first served basis from store opening time of 8am.
Some 300 copies of a vinyl promo for The Beatles “Live on Air Volume 2” will be available on Monday to support forthcoming album’s launch of the same name.
Tuesday will see about 100 “limited colour pressing” of Elvis Presley’s self titled album given away.
Wednesday will have 100 clear vinyl versions of ‘Movement’, an album by New Order given away.
Finally, a mere 30 copies of a highly rare pressing of a Robbie Williams promotional disc will be available to get on the Thursday. This is a 10’ 78 RPM vinyl, for those interested.
More details can be found at the HMV’s Facebook page.
That is all the major news for HMV at the minute, but as always I will periodically post any interesting news, so do keep checking back to Voice!