Wednesday, January 11, 2012

Gennaro Castaldo Watch: Farewell, Fareham

HMV tried a pop-up store over Christmas in Fareham, to which the town is now waving goodbye.

Gennaro Castaldo, HMV's pop-up press person, explains at length why (although "it was a pop-up store for Christmas" is all that was really needed):

‘We were pleased with our short-lease store in Fareham and would like to thank our customers for their valued support,’ he said.

‘In an ideal world I’m sure we’d love to have a more permanent presence in the town.

‘But whilst our retail offer may be viable for us during the run-up to Christmas when most big releases tend to come out, it’s less so across the rest of the year when sales are much lower and costs such as rent are much greater in relation to turnover.

‘If we traded the year-round, as we’d ideally like to do, it’s possible the site could lose money, whereas having a temporary store at this very busy time of year enables us to provide a valuable service to customers when they are most likely to require it, hopefully also allowing us to make a return while employing a number of staff in the process.’
I'm sure a tear rolled down Gennaro's cheek as he said "a permanent store might lose money" - given that the company lost £40million in the last six months, if HMV went round closing down stores at a risk of making a loss there wouldn't be a lot left.

There's an implication here, though, that the temporary Fareham store paid for itself, which could offer a glimmer of hope for HMV: could it become a movable feats, opening up temporary shops when there's some demand and not having to pay for large, empty shops at times when older people aren't out buying records? Keep a couple of flagship stores and a strong online presence the rest of the year. It's got to stand a better chance than trying to keep going by selling overpriced headphones.