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.