No tablets, more music and film: Hilco's vision to resurrect HMV
Restructuring firm hopes to challenge iTunes' dominance of digital market
HMV, the UK's last independent music chain, is to break from its previous strategy of selling tablets and other technology devices after it was bought by Hilco out of administration.
The restructuring firm yesterday ended months of speculation by acquiring the HMV brand, website and 141 stores in a deal worth about £50m, and promptly vowed to restore the retailer to its heritage as a music and film specialist.
The acquisition saves 2,643 jobs, although 81 stores will close with the loss of more than 1,000 roles.
Hilco has parachuted in Ian Topping – the former head of Steinhoff UK, the owner of the Harveys and Bensons for Beds chains – as chief executive, and he said: "We intend to reverse the earlier decisions to sell tablets and other devices in the stores and to reclaim the space for an enhanced music and visual range."
The restructuring specialist says it has turned around HMV Canada since it acquired the business at a knock-down price in 2011 from the British entertainment group. But it faces a much stiffer task to return the UK operation to its former glory after it collapsed under debts of £176.1m and spiralling losses, hiring the accountancy firm Deloitte as administrator in January.
Paul McGowan, the UK chief executive of Hilco who has become HMV's chairman, said: "We hope to replicate some of the success we have had in the Canadian market with the HMV Canada business, which we acquired almost two years ago and which is now trading strongly."
He added: "The structural differences in the markets and the higher level of competition in the UK will prove additional challenges for the UK business, but we believe it has a successful future ahead of it."
In contrast to the UK, broadband penetration is much lower outside the big cities in Canada, and Amazon is nowhere near the force it is in the UK, largely due to the huge size of the North American country.
Amazon increased its share of the UK entertainment market by 3.1 per cent to 23.4 per cent over the 12 weeks to 23 December, according to Kantar Worldpanel, compared with HMV growing by just 0.2 per cent to 17.5 per cent.
Laurie Krohn, a consumer analyst at Kantar Worldpanel, said: "Music downloads now account for 40 per cent of total sales by value, up from 33 per cent last year. iTunes is the dominant force in digital music, and HMV will need to challenge this supremacy if it wants to succeed in the long term."
But Hilco has forged deep relationships with many of the same music and DVD suppliers, while its prospects of turning around HMV in the UK will have been hugely improved by it exiting struggling stores, renegotiating rents with landlords and shedding its debt mountain.
Hilco owns Denby Pottery, previously ran the now-defunct book chain Borders UK, and has advised on many of the high street's most-distressed situations, from Woolworths to Peacocks, over the last decade.
- 1 Howard Jacobson: Let's see the 'criticism' of Israel for what it really is
- 3 Do you know this man? Amnesia sufferer found in park pleads for help in identifying who he is
- 4 PornHub begs users to stop uploading video clips of Brazil getting beaten 7-1
Game of Thrones author George RR Martin says 'f*** you' to fans who fear he will die before finishing Westeros saga
Jennifer Lawrence face palms Emma Watson at Christian Dior show in Paris
Mick Jagger denies being World Cup curse and reason for Brazil’s embarrassing defeat
Gingers face extinction due to climate change, scientists warn
Do you know this man? Amnesia sufferer found in park pleads for help in identifying who he is
Sustained immigration has not harmed Britons' employment, say government advisers
British jihadist calls for 'flag of Islam' over Downing Street and Buckingham Palace
Australia facing international condemnation after turning around Sri Lankans at sea
7/7 memorial defaced on anniversary of 2005 attacks with ‘Blair lied thousands died’ graffiti
Even when it brutalises one of its own teenage citizens, America is helpless against Israel
There’s a nasty smell in the political air – and it’s coming from the Tories
iJobs Money & Business
£40000 - £45000 per annum: Harrington Starr: A Global Financial Service Organ...
£50000 - £60000 per annum: Harrington Starr: Linux Systems Administrator - UNI...
£40000 - £45000 per annum: Harrington Starr: UNIX Systems Administrator - Orac...
£40000 - £55000 per annum: Harrington Starr: Linux Systems Administrator - (Su...