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WH Smith brings back some CDs, but on a nominal tactical basis

By | Published on Monday 11 March 2013

WH Smith

WH Smith is reportedly bringing CDs and DVDs – albeit only major new and chart releases – back to some of its stores in the wake of HMV’s recent collapse, according to the Telegraph. This despite the retailer’s CEO Kate Swann insisting that she didn’t see the demise of HMV as any kind of opportunity for her business, she having moved the firm out of the entertainment retail domain since joining the company in 2003 because “it’s simply not profitable enough”.

Though to be fair, the reintroduction of a nominal CD and DVD area in some WH Smith stores in recent weeks does seem to be a small-scale tactical move, based in shops that are very near an HMV store that is in the process of being closed down, in particular in station and airport sites. That is to say, a few CDs and DVDs may now appear in shops where WH Smiths reckons there is some passing trade to be won as a local HMV shuts its doors, but this does not reflect a major chain-wide change in policy.

HMV’s administrators are in the process, of course, of shutting down 116 of the flagging retailer’s stores, as negotiations are ongoing with restructuring firm Hilco to take over the rest of the HMV UK business. Meanwhile eight HMV shops in Hong Kong and Singapore were sold to AID Partners last month. That purchase was led by one Kelvin Wu, who has told the South China Morning Post he now has ambitions to expand his newly acquired HMV Asian business into mainland China and to launch new online operations, mainly through acquiring other players in entertainment retail.