Sunday, May 22, 2011

So, where now for HMV?

Now that - subject to paperwork - HMV has offloaded the slightly less unhealthy part of its business, what now for Nipper, Gennaro and the gang?

There's a strategy. Simon Fox is a man with a plan:

Fox said HMV's new strategy was to focus on building technology sales, including headphones, iPods and tablet computers such as the iPad. He said six stores using a new technology-led format had outperformed, and he wants another 150 shops to adopt the "new focus" by the autumn.
Yes, this is a totally different strategy from the one which saw stores being turned into glorified Youth Clubs. It's a different strategy from the one which saw them putting their name up outside live music venues. It's a different strategy from opening cinemas upstairs in HMV shops.

The man has had more cunning plans that a pile of deeply-discounted, unsold Blackadder boxsets.

So, how will this one work out? HMV isn't the most obvious place to go to buy an iPad, especially with Apple Stores all over the place. And iPads being flogged in Tesco to the other end of the market. And Dixons, Comet and Currys aren't exactly doing that well. And BestBuy is struggling to establish a toehold in the market.

But who knows - it might just work. And it's not like there won't be another sweat-soaked, panic-driven strategy coming along in a few months.

Mind you, it's not surprising that Fox is finding it hard to concentrate on giving HMV a point; he's got lots of other worries. Talking to Sky News after the Waterstones sale, Fox conceded that although the Waterstones sale will help him pay down HMV debt, the lack of Waterstones in the company will make borrowing more expensive for him. In fact, the increased rates of interest could be so high as to allow HMV to axe the deal to sell Waterstones, leaving it even further in a hole.

But maybe flogging a few iPads will help solve everything.


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