Thursday, January 20, 2011

HMV: One day we'll tell our grandkids about shops that sold records

More mounting misery for HMV, as the chain have called in a slash-and-burn "debt management" team from KPMG as it struggles to meet its next loan repayment deadline.

These would be measures in addition to shutting stores - oh, and flogging off the Oxford Street store.

There is some glimmer of hope for the chain, in that it is still making profits - but as EMI has found, profit isn't always enough to be able to cope with the weight of debt some companies are carrying.

Simon Fox is going to meet with one of the insurance companies who are getting jumpy about underwriting wholesale sales to the chain, but even as he does that, other financial 'experts' are gathering to tut. The Guardian reports:

A report by small rating agency Riskdisk, seen by the Guardian, shows the group rating as "suspended". Its risk assessment simply states: "This company appears financially valueless."
The Guardian has spoken to suppliers who suggest that all that's keeping HMV afloat is that it is the last of its kind:
Another supplier, who also asked not to be named, suggested a reduction in credit insurance was unlikely to see the big labels and publishing houses cause problems for HMV. "There is going to be some serious brinkmanship from Simon Fox now. The labels are in a Catch 22. He can say [to labels]: 'You need me. If you lose me you are going to have to talk to the supermarkets – and you know how difficult they are'."
It's true, but it's only true while HMV have customers. If KPMG suggest offloading more stores, there's going to come a point where the number of people the HMV and Waterstones chains are selling too is so slim, labels and publishers might concede they're better off struggling with Tesco and schmoozing with Amazon.