Business News HMV Timeline Retail

HMV has difficult summer, but Fox still optimistic about store revamp

By | Published on Friday 9 September 2011


HMV had another difficult quarter new financials published this morning have confirmed, with like for like sales down 15.1% in the firm’s retail business, and 19.4% down across the wider group.

However, analysts say that the figures, although disappointing, are in line with expectations, while top man Simon Fox says that his plan to reinvigorate the company’s retail business by increasing the amount of floor space given over to gadgets is still on track. He says that in the six pilot ‘fast forward’ stores where gadgets are already dominating like-for-like sales were up, in some cases double what they were in the same period last year.

Though some City types still worry that, while Fox is planning on using consumer electronics to rescue his business, both Dixons and Fox’s former employer Comet, traditionally go-to stores for electronics in the UK, have had disappointing years so far.

In related news, the Financial Times has revealed that bidders considering buying EMI have been told that the music major is a guarantor on up to forty retail property leases held by HMV, stemming from when the retailer was part of the EMI Group way back in the 1990s.

That’s only an issue if you think there is a risk the HMV retail business could go under, and if you believe the wider retail market is such that it would be very hard to rent out those properties to other businesses. But some more pessimistic analysts will likely believe both those things. If HMV was to collapse EMI, and whoever buys it off Citigroup, would be liable, according to the FT, for £150 million of property leases.

And finally in HMV news for today, the firm has announced the appointment of Mark Hodgkinson to its board as Marketing & eCommerce Director. It’s the first time marketing and ecommerce has been combined, and will result in current eCommerce Director Steve Napleton leaving the company.

Says Fox: “I would very much like to welcome Mark to HMV, who will bring with him tremendous marketing experience and expertise gained across a number of industry sectors and market-leading companies, most notably in the area of loyalty, online and digital, which are key areas for HMV as we continue our transformation into a broad-based entertainment brand operating across a number of channels. I would also like to place on record my sincere thanks to Steve Napleton for his contribution to HMV, and to wish him well in his future endeavours”.