Friday, June 29, 2007

Fopp for the chop?

Fopp, which had been the one bright spot on high street musical retailing, has got into difficulties and - having had its branches shut down for "stocktaking" last week - have warned staff not to expect any pay this month as they battle to avoid administration:

A spokeswoman for Ernst & Young said: “We have been brought in to discuss the options with the management.”

She added that they involved administration, receivership or insolvency but cautioned that Mr Dempster had not yet been officially appointed by the court.

Dermot Power, of Ernst & Young rival BDO Stoy Hayward, said that, although HBOS, the banker to Fopp, and trade creditors had been “incredibly supportive”, administration was likely.

“BDO looked to create a restructuring without resorting to insolvency but we could not make it work,” he said.

Gordon Montgomery, the chairman and major shareholder of Fopp, who founded the chain from a market stall in Glasgow in the early 1980s, admitted last weekend that sales were falling. “We are experiencing difficulties. However, I can categorically state we will not go into administration.”

It looks like Fopp's expansion over the last year or so has thrown the company completely off kilter: in February it trebled its outlets at a stroke by buying most of Music Zone's stores; in January 2006 it had taken over branches of the defunct MVC.

At the moment, stores are trading but on a strict "cash only" basis. The website isn't taking any business.


Anonymous said...

apparently they closed yesterday.

"It is with great regret that we announce the closure of Fopp. Our chain is profitable, well regarded and loved by our loyal customers and staff. However we have failed to gain the necessary support from major stakeholders, suppliers and their credit insurers to generate sufficient working capital to run our expanding business. We would like to thank staff and customers for their support over the past 25 years."

Cobardon said...

That's genuinely terrible.

FOPP was the only highstreet company I bought from.

Bugger. It's the net only from now on then I guess.

Anonymous said...

Maybe if they'd concentrated on running the "profitable" business at hand, rather than putting all their effort into running an "expanding business" they'd still be in business today.

Greed'll getcha every time....

Unknown said...

It's a terrible shame. Popped into the Cardiff branch two days ago, and none of the week's new released had been delivered. I'll miss it.

Anonymous said...

Fopp always struck me as a record chain with a heart. The staff genuinely cared about music and the shops always made a big thing of their recommended releases (whilst the 'recommendations' in my local HMV consist of a few racks marked 'Metal', 'Urban' etc and consist of a few albums that have been out for weeks, Fopp put all their tips - often debut albums and less-obvious acts - proudly in the front window, the location other shops would reserve for big '3 DVDs for £20' posters). I feel awful for the dismissed staff who, as one ex-worker put it, have worked the last month for free.

It's not looking good for record-shop is it? HMV crushing small independents, then giving up on selling CDs themselves, now one of the good chains closing. I'll miss Fopp.

Unknown said...

At the very front of their stores, they had a stand with genuinely breaking acts.

Great range of stuff, good prices.

Anonymous said...

The end of an era, ive been buying great music from fopp for over 20 years.From their first little shop in Renfield street in Glasgow to Byers Road and then Union street. Im completely gutted!

M.C. Glammer said...

Surely the record companies and their court-loving associations will step in to pay the staff. They wouldn't want anybody being ripped off, surely?

Anonymous said...

Visits to Scotland over the years saw me loading up on bags full of cheap classic albums before Manchester Fopp opened close to me - always a genuinely pleasant music buying experience which encouraged you to take a chance on albums you weren't sure about (especially the cheapo counter racks!)and broaden your tastes.

I agree totally..a few bone-headed and greedy business decisions have brought it down. Trying to turn a great independent into a huge chain when even my old Mum knows the arse has dropped out of the CD market? Taking over Music Zone shops which failed for exactly the same reasons 6 months ago? Honestly.... a real shame.

Anonymous said...

it comes to something when specialist shops can't survive and music ends up only as exciting as what goes into the supermarket basket and bought as an afterthought with biscuits.

Anonymous said...

This is catastrophic! Fopp was the only store in Aberdeen where you could get anything that wasn't mainstream without being ripped off. It was worth popping into even if you didn't have anything in mind to buy because you could always find something worth trying out and the staff were always happy to point you in the right direction. Like Cobardon, it's the Net only for me from now on.

Anonymous said...

It is a real shame that Fopp aren't trading any longer. I really hope that they come back - their staff were always very knowledgable and I could always trust their judgement when it came to buying new music. There were much more than just a shop to me, and their USP was the advice they provided that's something that the internet will never really be able provide to the same level of quality.

Bring Back FOPP!!!!!

Doug from West London.

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