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HMV latest UK retailer to stumble

posted 15 Jan 2013, 10:04 by Mpelembe   [ updated 15 Jan 2013, 10:11 ]

Reuters Business  Report - HMV has been opening its doors since the English composer, Edward Elgar, launched it on London's Oxford Street in 1921.

But the music store has fallen fowl of online and download competition.

And now, it's called in the administrators

With more than 4000 jobs and 230 stores at risk, the once musical powerhouse, looks set to crumble.

Tom Elliott is a strategist at JP Morgan Asset Management


"You've got a lot of wealth tied up in the brand names of these, particularly HMV's little dog and the gramophone symbol but quite what you do with that if you were to buy that brand, I don't know. You might want to compete on the internet to sell music but there are many longstanding competitors who are far more entrenched than HMV are on that."

HMV is just one of many British names to fall into difficulties.

Last October one in 10 stores reportedly lay empty and over the past year numerous big names have disappeared from the high street with the loss of almost 20,000 jobs.

They includet the electronics chain Comet, sports retailer JJB Sports and Clinton Cards

The budget fashion store Peacocks was another victim along with video games retailer Game Group.

And there was no let up this year with camera retailer Jessops the first to go under.

Back in 2006 HMV rejected a private equity takeover bid valued at almost 850 million pounds.

But that was before the rise of online and digital music.

Since then debt has risen to 176 million pounds. It's sold off most of its live entertainment business and the book chain Waterstones.

It had been pinning its hopes on a Christmas surge but that failed to materialise.

Shares have now been suspended after hitting an all-time low - the company is now worth just 5 million pounds

But there is some hope for HMV, according to the CEO, Trevor Moore.


"Our view is that there is a good business to be had, that we can maintain competitive prices, good service, good knowledge, a sensible store profile, with a good online business that develops a digital strategy."

Some analysts support that view - As long as HMV scales back on its shops and becomes a better online retailer.