Business News HMV Timeline Industry People Retail

Changes at HMV too – and the MD is going there too

By | Published on Friday 12 January 2007


HMV’s announcements yesterday morning seemed like quite big news until the EMI story broke, but here’s the lowdown anyhow.

The music, DVD and book retail group confirmed yesterday that its financial hardships continue. Group losses were £16.1 million in the six months leading up to 28 Oct, mainly because of the increase in losses at its UK and Irish HMV Stores, and in the Waterstones bit of the business too.

With things not really picking up since October, recently appointed HMV CEO Simon Fox, who joined the company last September, has announced a string of changes which he hopes can reverse the group’s fortunes. Like EMI, the changes begin with a change at the top – Steve Knott, currently MD of the HMV UK retail chain, will leave at the end of the month.

Fox said he would reveal full details of his changes in March, but yesterday outlined the six areas that he was concentrating on – driving online growth, launching a loyalty card programme, adding new product ranges, improving the supply chain, exploiting group synergies and “creating inspiring store formats”, whatever that means.

Commenting on the changes yesterday, Fox told reporters: “HMV UK is the largest part of the group and the biggest profit generator and its markets are changing structurally and fundamentally. I want to get to grips very clearly with the business for a period of time”. However, and despite the desire for online growth, Fox said he did not envisage store closures as part of the revamp, stating a belief that a high store presence will remain important for the company: “I think the [physical] music market will decline at a certain pace but there will always be a big place for the CD and I don’t believe those industry pundits that say it will disappear”.

Fox will oversee the HMV UK division directly during the revamp, but will look to appoint a new MD to oversee the division day to day “within a year”.