Music Industry

HMV Is Doing Just Fine, Thank You. In Fact, Things Haven’t Been This Good in a Decade

It wasn’t that long ago that people had written HMV off for dead. Declining CD sales, a brutal stretch in the UK and a spate of store closings had everyone assuming that HMV was headed into the same graveyard as Sam the Record Man, Tower, Virgin Megastores, Camelot, Sunrise, Sam Goody, A&A, Music World and a host of other chains.

Nope. In fact, things haven’t been this good for HMV in quite some time.  A little backstory.

When HMV UK started to run into financial trouble a few years ago, the parent company sold the Canadian operations off to an organization called Hilco. Hilco has two divisions: a liquidation section which sees to the orderly shut-down of a business and the optimistic turnaround division, which works to rescue companies from ruin. HMV Canada was a project of the latter. Meanwhile, HMV UK was left to struggle on its own, shutting down stores from London to Hong Kong and consolidating operations. They had a rough go.

Meanwhile, the results on the Canadian side nothing but positive. After adjusting inventory, selection and the number of stores and locations, HMV Canada has actually begun opening new stores. Things went so well that Hilco took over the UK operations in a deal worth £40M . Using what they learned from Canada, they’ve successfully turned things around for HMV UK, too. They’re once again the biggest retailer of physical music and DVDs in the UK, outselling Amazon.

Back in Canada, HMV has just reported its best Christmas season in a decade. From FYI Music News:

  • Cash registers across the 110 store chain rung up $55.2M in the five week survey period.
  • Sales of CDs increased by 2% and Vinyl recordings surged 60%.
  • The growth of new product categories also contributed to a positive seasonal sell-off. Licensed t-shirts and apparel sales increased 110% , collectibles were up by 40%, headphones & accessories 25% and licensed merchandise by 90%.

Nice work, HMV.


Alan Cross

is an internationally known broadcaster, interviewer, writer, consultant, blogger and speaker. In his 40+ years in the music business, Alan has interviewed the biggest names in rock, from David Bowie and U2 to Pearl Jam and the Foo Fighters. He’s also known as a musicologist and documentarian through programs like The Ongoing History of New Music.

Alan Cross has 38162 posts and counting. See all posts by Alan Cross

3 thoughts on “HMV Is Doing Just Fine, Thank You. In Fact, Things Haven’t Been This Good in a Decade

  • I’m not crazy on HMV (I’d rather buy my music direct from the artist, or from smaller independent retailers) but HMVs survival is very important to the rest of the industry. There needs to be a big ‘music’ retailer that is still alive and doing well. Even if they sell Hello Kitty glassware, AC/DC T shirts, and comic books too.

  • They sell Thinkgeek type stuff without having to deal with the waiting or customs. I don’t mind that.

  • This is great to hear, I continue to buy records. You just can’t beat the artwork and the feeling of that fresh new album in your hands.


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