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HMV to expand into Middle East via licensing deal

By | Published on Monday 13 July 2015


HMV is going global once again everybody! And why the devil not, I say. What could possibly go wrong? Nothing, that’s what.

So yes, according to the Telegraph, the all-new HMV has just agreed a deal to open fifteen stores across the Middle East, while talks are ongoing to launch new outlets in Australia, China and India.

The original HMV had operations in various places around the world over the years, of course, though many had been sold off or shut down prior to the firm’s collapse in 2013. Hilco, which bought the UK and Irish business out of administration, had already acquired the Canadian HMV business, so is already operating in three countries, but how has new global ambitions for the revitalised entertainment retail brand.

Though don’t be thinking the all-new HMV is letting the relative success of its streamlined UK operation get to its head, resulting in risky new plans internationally, the Middle East expansion is via a licensing agreement with Qatar’s Al Mana Lifestyle Trading; which plans to open HMV stores in Qatar, Bahrain, Kuwait, Oman and the United Arab Emirates, and subsequently Egypt, Algeria, Tunisia, and Morocco through other business partnerships.

Other similar licensing arrangements with the iconic music retail brand could enable expansion elsewhere. HMV has seen new growth in the UK following 2013’s collapse by keeping costs relatively low, putting a new focus on in-store events, and capitalising on a CD and DVD market which, while still in decline, is not free-falling like it once was.

Indeed some analysts reckon that the big recorded music declines in the next year or so will be in downloads, with the argument that the boom in streaming music hits conventional digital music stores more than it does physical product sales. And that’s something the new HMV, which has only dabbled a little bit in digital and is mainly focused on CDs and DVDs, is hoping to further benefit from.

Hilco man Paul McGowan told the Telegraph of his HMV business: “We are happy with where we are at this point in time. We are consolidating market share in all the markets we are in. It makes sense to look overseas”.