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Canadian music chain Sunrise Records acquires HMV

HMV in the UK has been saved from going under. It has been bought by Doug Putman, owner of the Sunrise Records chain in Canada. The businessman actually acquired HMV in Canada a couple of years ago and rebranded them as Sunrise Records, but there are no such plans in the UK.

100 of the 127 stores will remain open, which will result in 455 redundancies. The four Fopp store will continue to trade as is.

Putman, CEO of Sunrise Records, was bullish and gave a ringing endorsement of the physical marketplace: ““We know the physical media business is here to stay and we greatly appreciate all the support from the suppliers, landlords, employees and most importantly our customers.”

He called HMV a “fantastic heritage brand” adding, “I feel really lucky to be able to say that we can continue to call it HMV.”

When HMV went into administration at the end of last year, the future looked bleak but it’s new owner said “We see HMV continuing on in the UK for a long time. We believe it’s a chain that’s going to be around, the customers love it, we get amazing support, which is great. I think this is a very long road ahead.”

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Tony O

Just went to check out the HMV online store and could not find any way to buy anything, is the lack of an online purchasing option a new thing or as usual am I behind the times?

Alan Mitchell

One of the girls in HMV Hereford said that last year was the quitest she’d known in the eight years she’d worked there. It closed with immediate effect the other day.

I’ve been spending about forty pounds a month there the last few years years. The odd cd and new release LPs. My music was always at the back of the shop, almost like a niche section.

horslips

I am not sure that HMV ever really embraced the return to vinyl.

I was in the Exeter store recently (and not wishing to kick anyone when they are down) but the shelving they were using was far from browsing-friendly. Too high and too packed. They did not follow alphabetically and I remember I had great difficulty finding the later letters (was looking for Waits vinyl). I didn’t bother.

Perhaps a perusal of a picture of a music store in the 70s might be instructive? Pack them in and store them high does not now work when you are competing with on-line.

niftynigel

There have been a variety of different views on the situation, but clearly, some have been offered in good faith without knowing the full facts.

1. Sunrise Records and HMV Retail before them didn’t own stock in store or the warehouse or on HMV.com. It was/is owned by suppliers.

2. The suppliers dictate the selling prices and offers in store. This has been the case for a number of years. HMV markup above trade price should cover running costs.

3. Sunrise Records have only purchased 100 stores. The contents of the 27 other stores remain the property of suppliers. They may choose to redistribute to other stores, subject to contractual agreements.

4. Sunrise Records don’t own the HMV or Fopp names. Hilco are effectively leasing the names.

5. Sunrise Records haven’t purchased HMV eCommerce (the online store). There will have to be a new online store or Sunrise will have to lease the name etc to continue the old one. Given that’s gone, we can only speculate on the outcome.

6. HMV Pure was run by a third party. It remains to be seen what will happen there. There are supposedly 2.5 million Pure cards in circulation, so there is an incentive to have a scheme.

7. New stock is due at the end of this week. Deals have not been signed with all suppliers, so it could take a few weeks before things are back to normal, whatever normal is now!

Note: This information is offered in good faith, as explained to me by more than one store manager. I have no reason to doubt it.

Althepo

Some thoughts on regaining lost ground…
1. Create a website that focuses on new releases and all their different formats. Orders are placed and the items collected from HMV stores on day of release. Guess most of us here will like that.
2. DVD is now outdated…time to go.
3. Better offers on BluRay/4K to encourage those still wanting physical items.
4. Introduce buy and sell second hand sections, like Amoeba and Newbury Comics in the US. Maybe not highly profitable for it works in the US. 25% of those sales go to charity.
5. Add a coffee area, playing music and having a selection of music and film mags/books on hand.
6. Get rid of the tat technology products and stock a supply of quality items (a small scale Richer Sounds)
7. Keep the main focus on music.

Gorecki

A few counter-arguments:
1. Collecting items in store on the day of release is fine if a) your HMV is one of those that hasn’t just been closed leaving the nearest store 45 minutes drive away – a 15 minute drive to the sorting office if you miss the postman seems meagre by comparison; b) you are actually able to go in on the day of release; c) you aren’t disabled with mobility problems.
2. DVD is cheap – for those on a limited budget a £3-5 DVD beats a £15 Blu. And the market speaks: DVD outsells Blu by 3 – 4:1 (on the last stats I saw) – Blu has never taken off in the way it was assumed it would and remains a specialist/ niche format for film-buffs and the like, and for favourite films. It’s notable that the big sellers for Blu are always deluxe editions of Lord Of The Rings, Star Wars, etc. – the stereotypical fare of the stereotypical geeky male. (Apologies if that seems sexist but it’s never the Anniversary edition of When Harry Met Sally or Pretty Woman – Julia Roberts just didn’t have any chainmail to be documented being smithied together! And Meg Ryan didn’t have enough ewok encounters. Unless you count Billy Crystal. But Princess Leia is in both!)
3. ‘Better offers on BluRay/ 4K to encourage those still wanting physical items’ – rather confirms what I said for 2. The DVD section is far larger than that of the Blu in every store into which I go.
4. HMV tried a second hand section a few years ago – it didn’t take off – perhaps because there’s already a thriving CEX a few doors down from most HMV stores, and I’ve heard there’s this thing called ‘the internet’ which has ‘websites’ called Amazon and ‘the eBay’ – I believe they sell second hand stuff for a few pennies! But, of course, unlike HMV they don’t pay extortionate tax, rates, and rents, or tax (worth reiterating)…. The UK is not the US and doesn’t have to copy – and what works in one place may not work in others. Although HFCS-related obesity has proved a real success across the UK! So who knows!
5. Borders introduced a coffee area (thankfully without music) and had a selection of magazines and books – turned out well, didn’t it? And whose music should it play? Mine, yours or my taste-and-discernment-free 13 year old nephew’s? :s
6. I have no idea whether HMV ever sold any tech products (good or bad) but trying to compete with a high-end store (that I’ve never heard of! Sorry if that makes me a heathen) doesn’t seem to be a step toward sustainability.
7. Adding coffee areas, and trying to turn the place into some sort of Hipster Hell, won’t turn HMV around… especially when the hipsters all get their silly over-preened over-moussed beards stuck together and have to wander round like some kind of bizarre Rat King (look it up).

I have no idea what the answer to HMV’s problems might be: the issues of rent, rates, taxes are major – but that is out of HMV’s hands – and making sure Amazon finds paying tax is an obligation not a charitable donation to the Treasury set at their own preferred low level is a Governmental issue, as is requiring Spotify to pay a fair market rate to the artists it is parasitically leeching from (and, of course, taxes); and Netflix shouldn’t be excluded, their business model seems to be predicated on making a few extremely expensive ‘TV’ productions to lure people in, while buying in a lot of pre-made content from elsewhere – but when they’ve destroyed all the people who make that content – what happens then? Suddenly there’ll be far less content, they’ll have a monopoly and prices….??? And, of course, paying next to no tax helps….

A few weeks ago at a DCMS select committee several of the FANGS – I think it was Netflix, Amazon and Spotify this time – were genuinely trying to make the case to MPs that they should be treated leniently and given more help by the State as they were just poor little struggling start-ups…. which is presumably why the British taxpayer continued to give Netflix tax refunds every year*! The poor dears!

*I know it’s more complicated than that but up until either 2015 or 2016 they were getting tax refunds because they made such heavy losses in the UK. Last year they made a pretax profit of £1.2 million on £500 million in sales from 8 million subscribers. They paid NO corporation tax.

Over the last 20 years Amazon paid total corporation tax of £62 million on total turnover of £7 BILLION. In 2018 alone M&S paid £65 million and Tesco paid £176 million. In those 20 years, on that £7 BILLION turnover Amazon reports UK profits of just £213 million – if the UK is so unprofitable, why do they maintain a presence here? Is this a peculiar act of corporate charity?

Eric

Excellent points, Gorecki. We can wish for HMV to mirror and cater for own tastes, but ultimately it’s down to forces outside our control, and in the hands of landlords, committees and probably just about everything *except* how much vinyl, CD, DVD, Blu-ray or tat they do or don’t sell.

EG.

Chris Squires

Good point about the music being played in these places. Is it chosen at a corporate level? Is it at the manager’s discretion or will it be left to a member of staff? Are they trying to appeal to the 40somethings and 50somethings who have disposable income and a hankering for the physical product or are they trying to appeal to the yoof with chart music as that would make me walk straight out. The genre with the biggest rise in radio listenership in the UK is classical. I am far more likely to stand and browse if they play TFF, the Smiths, Howard Jones etc. Rather than (I might embarrass myself here) Is it Drake? Stormzy?
It is a real quandary. The people with the money are less likely to be wandering around town, the charts do not reflect the listening and buying habits of people who have the money. Your next generation of customers are just not interested in physical music. I just do not see how they can square that circle in the medium to long term.
Two things spring to mind. Paul’s post about the luxury value of music. A whole generation of people now see “free” music as a right. Nobody ( I know, there might be one or two) under 30 is going to spend £10 let alone £50 on a music box set. They don’t have a CD player or turntable. Secondly (although the points are allied) my two kids are 22 and 21 and have never spent so much as a penny on physical music. They have Spotify and a phone. That’s it. By that age (1987) I had spent £1000s on music and equipment. Every penny I had earned since my first Saturday job at 14.
How are HMV going to get a penny from this new generation? Beats me.
It’s a higgledy piggledy post. But the underlying thread is I don’t see how they can make any money in the medium term.

Stevie B

The Scottish roots and story of FOPP…

https://www.bbc.co.uk/news/uk-scotland-glasgow-west-47134559

Mathew Lauren

This is great news!

JuzzyB

HMV Online store has disappeared. Being overhauled or gone for good? I think we should be told.

Mathew Lauren

+1

TrueFaith87

At this moment I’m not aware of the HMV in Leicester closing. As a store, it has a great variety of stock and the 2 for £15 offers allow my budget to get some great new cd’s. Also the online site to click and collect is excellent. As for vinyl and box sets they are reasonably priced so I’ll be gutted if it goes. I’m also near to Nottingham and the FOPP is brilliant for left field films and vinyl.
Cross fingers it works….

Cornelius

Seems to me that the high rental stores are closing.

Paul M

I would guess that Fopp Oxford had a combination of high rent + bad location. This is the second time it’s been closed – when HMV bought Fopp and the Oxford branch re-opened they put it next door to the unit it previously occupied despite it being in a (fairly) out of the way location.

It’s not like there is much competition in Oxford. The only place now selling CDs in the city centre is Blackwell’s book shop (and I’ve never found the CDs in there so I’m basing this on what I’ve read elsewhere). Or it’s a trek to the (admittedly wonderful & independent) Truck Store on Cowley Road – they seem to survive by being a combination of coffee shop, internet cafe, new and 2nd hand vinyl and CD stockist with occasional live events and no mail order.

Bottom line for Fopp in town is surely the rental costs. Sounds from the Canadian posts on this thread that we aren’t missing much from not having a Sunrise though.

Karsten

I remember back in the 80’s when there were 4 HMV stores on Oxford Street alone. Those were the days. Can’t believe that now there will be none.
R.I.P. HMV on Oxford Street. You will be missed!

Mark Levy

I would have thought they would have kept the Oxford Street store open. Isn’t London supposed to be the capital of the British music scene. Despite what other cities do?

RJS

It obviously wasn’t profitable. They aren’t going to keep a loss making shop open just because it’s in London.

MARK

Plymouth will close..shame..did I purchase much? no not really, made sure I always was there early for the “Saturday” in vinyl week. More importantly the staff who will lose their jobs..been there I know what that is like, I hope they find work soon

Alan B

Wonder why will happen to online pre-orders? I pre-ordered the bundle of four New Order 12 inch singles – to be delivered to one of the stores they have just closed. Hopefully they will let us know soon what is happening to the online side of the business plus the Pure HHV Points Scheme – I have over 200000 points on my card.

Woodsey Niles

Unfortunately I fear that failure is inevitable due to cultural and commercial change. Sounds like HMV is going the same way that the once great Tower Records went in the US. Their business model didn’t keep up with the times and they collapsed under their own weight. Borders Books, the huge American book store chain, went belly up for the same reason. They spent more time and effort getting people to bring in their laptops, buy one cup of coffee and use the store’s free WIFI all day than they did to get people to buy books and CDs. Meanwhile, another American book store chain, Half Price Books, is prospering because they know how to adapt to changing technology and customer buying habits. Music downloads and e-books will be the death of brick and mortar stores. Until then I still prefer to buy real CDs and books – not handfuls of air.

Alan B

A common reason cited for closing stores is very high rents. Not just HMV but other stores. Surely there comes a point when landlords will realise that the market for rents has moved downwards and rents must fall accordingly? Surely it is better to get half the current rent than leave a shop empty with zero income? Near where I live there is a brand new housing development with about 6 retail units below. In the 10 years since they were built only 2 of those retail units have ever had any occupants. The other 4 have been empty for 10 years. I have it on good authority from business people in the area that the rents they want are extortionate hence no one has moved in. Again I make the point. Lower your rents and get people in. Whatever you get is more than the current zero rent.

Thereusedtobearecordshopoeverthere

It wont ever happen in the foreseeable future….a friend of mine is the managing partner at a commercial estate agents. Firstly there are coffee chains, restaurants, high street mini supermarkets etc in the UK all still willing to pay these high rents. Secondly there are overseas retail chains looking to break into the UK high street/shpping mall market. Sometimes it might take a little longer to find someone to take over a unit but there will always be someone there willing to pay the rent and rates that another retailer cant afford to do.

HMV Oxford Street was going to close ages before the administration happened. Footlocker came to an agreement with the landlords to take over that site some time ago…

Julian Hancock

My limited understanding is that there a number of reasons why rents don’t get reduced in a hurry. Firstly, where landlords do have a significant number of other local tenants, they will all look for a reduction if they think someone else has got a reduction. Secondly, some of the land companies seem more concerned about share price than rental income. And my limited grasp of this is that share price is determined at least in part by book value of the property portfolio, which is in turn impacted by the theoretical rent that might be charged. As we have seen, whether that rent is actually being paid is another issue.

Mike Thorn

Was in Fopp Covent Garden yesterday, they had a visit from the new owner and had a really good discussion with him. He seemed a good and positive guy.

Straker

Is Oxford Street closed already?

Ross Baker

The 27 stores closed yesterday.

Auntie Sabrina

I believe all the 27 HMVs that were due to close are indeed closed.

Andrew

HMV do need to look at their prices to be honest, I was in Birmingham over the weekend and they wanted £19.99 for the 2 CD Remaster of Macca’s Red Rose Speedway! That is surely a £12.99 item and not as priced. Also they have a knack of pricing items wrongly, I bought a CD priced at £10.99 however was charged £12.99 at the till. It was resolved however pricing is a big issue. We all know this stuff does not cost the earth, and they should stop selling junk such as clothes, pop vinyl, and other tat. Focus on Music and Film only and price accordingly, Amazon have been over charging for items since HMV went into Administration after Xmas and I assume were hoping they could continue. Now they have been saved and I am pleased for that although London has been decimated with closures which is not great, surely have a real stab at supplying what physical music lovers wants, not the top 20 but back catalogue items, boxsets, and in numbers, not 1 of each item upon release.

If you getting the pricing right then people will buy more and not use the shop as a browsing function to then buy online, if your a £1 dearer than Amazon you are likelt to sell then and there when you are £5-£10 dearer you will lose that custom and HMV have been doing this for years.

Dan

A few points about your comment. 1) Pricing: Yes, some items maybe more than online, but thousands more are the same or cheaper. The recent price increase on most items happened in the six week period between HMV going into administration and 100 of the stores being saved on the 5th February. 2) “they should stop selling junk” – One mans junk is another mans gold! Some of the items you referred to as junk are very popular and have a high mark-up price. 3) Titles become Top 20 because they sell the best. If a shop doesn’t sell the best selling items how do you expect it to exist? If you owned a Supermarket would you stop stocking bread, beans and milk because they are ‘popular’ and in the ‘top 20’ best selling items??? HMV has to sell the Top 20… Indeed it stocks the Top 60 (that are available physically) on CD, Record and sometimes even cassette. 4) For the 27 stores that were closed on the 5th February that meant 455 instant redundancies with no notice period. As well as those 455 who lost there jobs, there is also the knock-on effect to other traders located next to those 27 stores, and jobs at subcontracted firms (cleaners in those stores, the delivery drivers, etc…). I know because I worked at one of those 27 stores. Some of the staff had worked at my branch for 25 years – It is all they have known. They joined aged 20 then in a matter of minutes it’s all gone. Staff were basically told if their store was closing when they got to work, and if it was it was ‘get your things, thanks, hope you find something else soon’. Brutal. The high street is in trouble as a result of lower foot fall but increased rents every year. Add into the equation the fact raised elsewhere about online retailers not paying their proper taxes, what hope is there for society and community? I now have found out that the online crowd funding platform ‘PledgeMusic’ is also in trouble due to money mismanagement…

Aleutia

Not surprised Exeter was one of the ones to go. Rent would have been sky high in that location. The worst part of HMV in Exeter was that music pretty much seemed to be an after thought. The downstairs was full of DVD’s, games, hi-fi equipment & those pop vinyl figures (that to me have no place in a music store) whilst the actual music was hidden away on the second floor. I’d like to see HMV ditch the dvd’s unless they are music related & all the other crap that has taken over the store & get back to selling music. Hopefully they’ll introduce a better loyalty scheme to keep people coming back.

Jakob

Same thing happened at the Canadian HMV’s. Music started getting crowded out to make room for movies and games but then, apparently not being aware of Steam and Netflix, they discovered people are even less interested now in owning physicals of movies and games than music. D’oh!

David Carter

A few Yeovil fans on here :-) , I am also glad this store remains. I rarely visited only because of their paltry selection of Vinyl, but if they embrace Vinyl in the future I will definitely visit more often

David Kuznets

Great sighs of relief here in Cambridge. Fopp will remain open. We lost our HMV here several years ago, leaving Fopp as the only dedicated CD shop. We have a couple of vinyl boutiques, and Heffers sells a few CDs and vinyl, but Fopp is the only general music shop. It’s a great shop, with lovely and knowledgable staff, friendly and full of great CDs and vinyl with lots of bargains. I am in several times a week.

I worked in the 1970s at HMV’s flagship store on Oxford Street and am sad to see it go. When I worked there it was the most comprehensive record shop in the world. Pre-computer, we had developed stock control systems that pretty much stocked every LP available in the UK without developing overstock problems. Ordering was the province of department managers and stock processing and ordering was on-site. Unfortunately. a management change while I was there led to more centralised control and a less comprehensive and locally controlled approach. HMV’s position subsequently slipped, but its systems, even watered down, allowed it to continue for many years when other shops and chains couldn’t survive changing tastes.

I am glad Mike Ashley didn’t get his grubby little hands on HMV and Fopp, and it has turned out the best we all could have hoped for, but it remains to be seen if Putnam is as good as he seems. I hope so.

Steven Roberts

Gutted that Bristol Cribbs AND Bristol Fopp are biting the dust….obviously a bean counter somewhere figured that Bristol Broadmead – in the town centre – gave them the best bang for the buck.

Sadly I hardly ever shop in the town centre any more :(

If they are going to take my shops away I sure hoping they are beefing up their online presence….

SimonH

Agree very sad. The Broadmead shop is worth a look though, the selection may surprise you and the staff are nice.
Of course there’s also Rough Trade, again nice staff but a bit more expensive and skewed towards vinyl.

David

Really is such a shame that the original Fopp on byres Road Glasgow is one of the shops for the chop from what I’ve heard

Phil

Apparently all Fopp stores are CLOSING! Shame

Dr Volume

Glad lots of shops and jobs have been saved. Sad to lose Manchester Fopp though. Piccadilly Records used to occupy the site of that Fopp so there’s been a record shop there since the early 1990s. For Mr Sunrise I can see why there’s no point him having two outlets so close to each other although I’d have been tempted to keep Fopp and lose the Arndale HMV – but perhaps he wants to focus on the HMV brand given the choice of the two in the same city – a lot of people have no idea Fopp = HMV . The Arndale HMV is OK, has a reasonably deep catalogue and still has a specialist Classical, Jazz and Folk/World section (sadly not behind glass doors like it used to be!) so I guess in that sense it’s distinguished from what the Indie records shops in Manchester do.

So what now? – The reports from Sunrise shoppers on here aren’t encouraging but let’s see. What I do know is you can’t just save 100 HMV stores and then carry on as before. He can learn a lot from Waterstones – appealing shops that you’re encouraged to linger in and browse or have a cuppa, cross generational appeal (they went for kids books in a big way), simple and good value loyalty scheme, attractive special offers that give online loss-leaders a challenge, and plenty of choice. He’s got a lot of other challenges (not least that music listeners have adopted streaming far more than book lovers have taken to Kindles), but he’s still got that USP of being able to browse and take home what you want there and then rather than waiting for a White Van…which as Vinyl lovers have noted is a real plus and the fact that Record Shops retain an emotional pull.

Mr Sunrise has his work cut out that’s for sure but let’s not let the record labels and distributors off the hook here. If they want to keep flogging stuff and they’re serious about keeping their wares visible on high street shelves they need to do a lot of soul searching about prices and margins and maybe there a logistical changes they can make to the way they work with retailers not just HMV.

dominic

I came to say the same thing about Fopp v HMV in Manchester.

Prior to being Piccadilly Records, the Fopp site had previously been Spin Inn Records back in the 80s, specialists in underground dance & hip hop imports.

Stuart

A number of the stores that are listed for closure are in Intu centres and it’s no secret that they’re feeling the pinch. Possibly rents have increased on these sites making them no longer viable for HMV?

Shame, as there’s some good knowledgeable folk in my local branch which is closing

Rich P

Glad Sheffield is staying open – phew!

RJS

I’m glad they’re keeping the Winchester shop open. I spend about 40 minutes there whenever I head into town with my better half. I head straight to HMV and she meets me there after she’s finished her shopping. I do spend money there and nearly always buy something but they just don’t sell a lot of the music I’m into or looking for.

Mike the Fish

@RJS: There’s Elephant nearby in Winchester, isn’t there? Keenly priced, and holds a lot of stock that HMV doesn’t (and vice versa in terms of stock, to be fair).

RJS

Correct, but its almost exclusively vinyl.

Zongadude

I suppose the London flagship store of Bond Street is closing because of the skyhigh rent rate in London ? They closed the huge Virgin Megastore in the Champs Élysées in Paris for this very reason: it was too expensive de maintain a store in that street.

RJS

Why do some people think they need a “flagship” store? Somewhere for news reporters to gather the next time the brand goes into receivership? A “flagship” store means nothing to customers in other parts of the country and no company would ever keep a shop open in the hope that it might break even like someone has suggested.

Eric

Shutting the Reading store was a bit of a shock. It’s a big University location, easy access to and from London, and a magnet for store signings as well. It can only be down to the issue of rent prices.

That said, its staff were too young and often too brash, the music they played instore reflected that a lot of the time (other stores had more sensible approaches to store ambience), and it had slowly been shrinking in size ever since the previous brush with administration.

Customers are being redirected to the Basingstoke branch. Um, thanks but no thanks.

EG.

Thomas Casagranda

Hi, Eric.

Agreed there, as I thought it was doing OK.

It was my local HMV, too, and it still had some good stuff in there, albeit the caps, t shirts, and headphones could’ve been offloaded.

Ian Hicks

Find it strange that the Kingston and Brighton stores staying open especially when you have the superb Banquet Records in Kingston and Resident Music in Brighton.

RJS

Resident Music is a great shop. I was surprised to see that it’s doubled in size the last time I visited!

Stefan

Resident is a good shop but their prices are on the high side & there are quite a few sub genres that they don’t cover at all. When it comes to Rock & Metal they’re great for the Doom, Sludge & mainstream Metal but they have naff all when it comes to the more melodic / Hard Rock styles. Their CD selection is fairly average, HMV carries way more titles than Resident does.

backwards7

I am not surprised to see the Oxford Street branch bite the dust. As a flagship store it was makeweight and uninspiring. Compare that with Fopp where I once saw the staff sell a customer a copy of Aja off the turntable. They carry less stock but it’s a better experience.

I wonder whether they will open a smaller store at a different location within central London or if they will let Fopp do the heavy lifting.

Martin Power

Totally agree re Fopp which is weird as they are a HMV subsidiary or sister brand?

graham

Gutted that Plymouth is closing but I think it is a locations exercise, close the expensive mall locations (hopefully) give it 12-18 months and then re-open in a fanfare of ‘we saved the business’ in smaller less expensive units. Until then no need for me to ever go to town again, except to browse the row upon row of Robbie Williams cd’s in the charity shops

Derek Langsford

Used to travel 2 hours by bus from Polperro to Plymouth to go to HMV and any other record shops in the City (mid-late 1970s). While feeling sad I am part of the problem as I rarely buy music in stores now (too far away, too busy to take the time, too expensive versus on-line). My last half dozen trips to my nearest, small, independent store (Lou’s in Encinitas, CA) have been disappointing with very little of interest to me in stock. Last time I was there, I was the only one looking at CDs, but maybe 10 people came in and flipped through the used vinyl. Hope that the Berwick Street independent stores are still there next time I am in London.

Mark

Like you Graham, gutted that Plymouth is closing. I had actually ‘moved back’ to supporting HMV over the last few years, rather than just using Amazon etc.

thewildeyedboyfromfreecloud

Strange how vinyl seems to be the thing in demand. It’s my format of choice so I welcome this news but everytime I see a vinyl only release all I see is 90% of comments slagging it off as trendy, that it won’t be listened to and demanding a CD release – especially on this site.
I would love to walk into a record shop but I have to spend at least a tenner to get in and out of town just to browse through a shop. I’m close to Westfield, supposedly Europe’s largest shopping centre – not a single record shop in there, HMV closed a number of years ago.

Ross Baker

Ah well, you said it yourself with ‘trendy’ ;).

Vinyl has no doubt captured a large number of listeners who would have otherwise gone straight from CD to digital, so it’s played a big part in keeping bricks and mortar stores open. That said, last year in the UK CDs outsold vinyl at a ratio of 8:1, so the vinyl demand is dramatically exaggerated by the press.

Jamie

As an American, I’m happy to hear that the chain will remain open. I still miss Tower Records in the U.S. It’s important to have physical locations for people to browse and discover new music.

smorrissey

Oh nooooooooo, the canadian chainstore strikes again…. =(

Jakob

Sunrise is pretty terrible. All the worst traits of HMV (vinyl figures, keychains, etc) but turned up to 11.

Ross Baker

I went for a job interview at HMV about eight years ago, and the manager was talking about how the company was moving towards competing with independent record stores, having more specialised stock, staff with expertise, generally aiming to be a ‘proper’ record shop. The Hilco takeover furthered this a little, removing all trace of clothing, pushing posters and merch back somewhat. But they still never really achieved it, it still felt very broad, full of brightly coloured sales of Best Ofs and stuff. If they’re going to last more than five years, they’ll have to do what they’ve supposedly been trying to for years, and actually become a proper record shop that people can browse, find interesting stuff, ask questions in and so on. They no doubt do a good trade on casual customers buying CDs, but moving forward the focus will increasingly be on vinyl, CD box sets, and new CD releases of bands with dedicated fanbases.

DVD and BluRay should definitely stay – it’s the only place on the high street with a reasonable range, and there are still plenty of people who buy them – but their range in recent years has been daft. I’m sure they’ll be consolidating their range, sticking to series boxsets rather than single series releases, not having multiple versions of the same film, etc. I’m sure a heavier focus on BluRay will benefit them from the film collector’s perspective too.

There are plenty of ways to make the company work and no reason it should disappear from the high street (not, at least, until the high street itself disappears), but they need the confidence to know who their customers are and make sure they stock what those customers want. I’ve got my fingers crossed, as for many places it is the last place to buy albums and older films / shows without resorting to the internet, and that’s a hugely important thing.

Eric

Well said, Ross!

EG.

Gregg

Funny in Toronto this company has yet to open a decent shop Sunrise records in Toronto can only be gound in a few select malls no stand alone store in the downtown of Toronto! I really don’t understand this recent acquisition when they can’t even open up a decent shop in Canada’s biggest city which is were they are based?????

Jakob

Gregg, it’s because rent in downtown Toronto means only Starbucks’ and hi-end designer retail can turn a profit.

Andy

Very well put Ross.. I’d like to see a better back catalogue also stocked.. A broader range of music will also help. Take out the headphones posters mugs turntables.. If they concentrate on being a music shop again we may see a return to the past times of a bustling and happy place to shop…

Kevin Galliford

I find it beyond comprehension that they would’nt have a London flagship shop. Surely the publicity & profile the shop would have from it’s location would make it worth keeping? Also, if there’s one music shop that can get singers in for signings etc this is the one! It’s clear that the whole music industry needs proper music shops to generate excitement, get their records / vinyl etc in for the general public to practice the ancient art of browsing & spontaneous purchases of stuff that perhaps you might not consider. Having said this though, last time I was in London last year, I found the Oxford Street shop a disappointment. handled right though, I’m sure it could be a great success. A better experience for me by a country mile was the Fopp in Covent Garden. They had more of what I wanted, more off mainstream products & was generally a much better retail experience & I include the staff in that. Paradise!! It was so good, I spent much more than what I had originally planned to. As a side note, my wife was in the Oxford st branch before Christmas & before they even went into receivership & they did’nt even have the latest Bowie box set on CD or an old Led Zeppelin album I wanted. If the then biggest music shop in London let alone the UK does’nt have key items in stock it does ask questions of how they are being run!

RJS

“I find it beyond comprehension that they would’nt have a London flagship shop. Surely the publicity & profile the shop would have from it’s location would make it worth keeping”

Not sure what you mean by “publicity”. If it’s not paying its way, then it has to go.

Steve

Fopp in 7 dials London will get rebranded HMV. Much better size store in a much better location than the Oxford Street one.

Straker

It seems bizarre that some way can’t be found to keep the central London store open. Even if it were only for it to break even it’d be a worthwhile flagship for the brand. Today’s news for the rest of the chain is welcome but I see it as nothing more than kicking the can down the road and I bet we’re here again in a few years’ time with more closures or the whole chain going under for good.

Any news of a closing down sale at the Bond Street store? Anyone?

smorrissey

I agree, Sunrise stores have a very small and stock and prone to vinyl so….it’s just a question of time..

MusicFan

Reading through the comments about FOPP I’m surprised no one has mentioned anything about FOPP in Nottingham.

This will have to close at some point but has Doug Putman not done his research?

The shopping centre in which it resides is being knocked down! Maybe FOPP will return in a few years when the shopping center has been rebuilt?

I can imagine once it has gone, it will be gone.

SimonP

I see Windsor is staying put. I would’ve thought the rent would be really high there, but maybe they get good sales?

The Hereford store is possibly the worst one I’ve tried. Had a list of wants and they didn’t have a single thing on it in stock.

Mark G

Windsor went 4 years ago.

MusicFan

I’m pleased HMV is saved as it’s important to have a competitor to Amazon.

I don’t buy from Amazon anymore. I’m fed up of receiving new releases two weeks after release and I’m fed up of incorrect and damaged items. I like being able to pick up the items I want and to be able to check for any imperfections.

Also as a collector Amazon’s descriptions can be inaccurate and confusing when comparing different UK and international editions – or they have the wrong picture! Yet in a shop I never have that issue.

For a long time now HMV has been cheaper than Amazon but people automatically assume vice versa. As consumers we should never purchase on auto-pilot. Always check the price and quality of goods in other places.

I bought three blu rays and a CD from HMV this weekend (just like most weekends). The three blu rays where the cost for two on Amazon and the CD was the same price.

I love FOPP. They are great for specialist BFi and Masters of Cinema Blu ray collections.

However HMV need to shop selling DVDs. It’s such a nasty format. It’s time to move on. Surely no one is daft enough to buy a highly compressed format to then watch on a 50+inch TV?

David R

I find HMV quite expensive..haven’t bought from my nearest Store for over two years. They can’t compete with Amazons prices..tho I must admit.. Amazon don’t care about the customer when you think of it..their Warehouse staff have got to meet targets…pack them quick ship them quick and they use poor packaging..they are cheaper tho

Tony O

I would have to think that one of the main factors of a lot of the closures is the rent, bluewater, lateside, oxford street, will have been top top rent and I doubt the landlords would have been keen to re-negotiate the rents

kook

You’re probably right but surely those landlords will soon have to start being more realistic and charging lower rents. There doesn’t seem to be much point in owning a colossal shopping centre without any shops in it.

In terms of music retail, I suppose the writing has been on the wall for several years but I’m still sad and surprised to see Fopp on the kill list. It’s the only decent record store I know of now, and always seems pretty busy when I go in there.

Obviously not busy enough though.

kook

You’re absolutely right, although it’s not just music retailers who are struggling. The last few years have seen BHS, Maplin, New Look and House of Fraser hit the skids (among others) and it looks as if Debenhams might be next.

With disposable incomes stagnating, people are naturally going to seek lower prices online or forgo certain items altogether. If retailers have having to slash their markups just to stay afloat, surely it’s not unreasonable to expect the likes of Peel Holdings to take a hit as well?

Unrealistic, maybe, but not unreasonable!

Andy

Like you Tony most closing I’m pretty sure it’s all down to high rents and not making money to stay afloat sadly.. Rent is killing too many shops etc now..

Darren Linklater

It’s great that HMV survives and even better that it is now in the hands of someone with a passion for music retail. Sorry for the staff affected by the branches that have closed.
If you are a music fan and love the feel of browsing the racks and talking to knowledgeable staff about music give them your full support. HMV are usually the same or cheaper than Amazon and we need the competition between both. If you are passing, call in. If you want something and are going into town buy it from a shop rather than Amazon.
The stores need to focus on music rather than toys and electronics. Vinyl is the growing market so depth of catalogue needs to be improved. In store promotion, concert tickets, good range of box sets and CDs and less DVDs would all appeal to music lovers.
Let’s hope that HMV gets back to their roots but in a smaller more sustainable version.

Gisabun

I’m from Canada. I barely buy anything from Sunrise. Their prices are ridiculous.
This past Boxing Day, they had a few items and those weren’t that great either. Last year they had something like 20% off items not on sale [or something like that].
Anyone who’s going to buy at HMV/Sunrise in the UK thinking they should shop there instead of Amazon has to be reasonable. If you want to pay £5 extra to try and keep a store afloat, fine. But you will need a lot of people following your lead.
I can’t see Sunrise in Canada keeping all those stores afloat.
Seems at least a quarter of the store is non-music related stuff like stuffed toys and crap.
Finally, they seem to push these 2/$20 CDs and DVDs that have been around forever. These are the same CDs that I’m sure few want. So why waste so much rack space on something that barely sells.

Marc

I’m from Canada – Montreal actually – and from seeing how they handled the HMV bankruptcy locally – within the province of Quebec … is that they tend to keep the stores with cheaper rent open and not the ones closest to city centres where the rent is higher. For example – HMV had a huge downtown location that they did not continue on. In fact the closest Sunrise to our old downtown location is about 30 mins away by car. The only kept suburb locations afloat.

Another thing i noticed is there pricing methods do not consider amazon prices – whereas HMV’s prices always did. So, you can expect to pay more than you previously did for vinyl at their stores (HMV by comparison). Their approach is that if you’re willing to use an online merchant, you likely wouldn’t walk into a Sunrise in the first place. They price accordingly.

Gisabun

That “megastore” was too big even in the days past. They dumped too much non-music stuff on the main floor and the basement seemed to be half empty [wider aisles than needed].
The Toronto main store was about the right size except too many stairs for the size!

MusicFan

That’s a suicidal pricing policy!

They can’t charge a higher price because they think customers are too stupid to check online.

Good luck with that Doug Putman as he’ll need all the luck he can get! Amazon must be laughing!

The NUMBER ONE complaint most people have ever had is that historically Amazon has always been much cheaper than HMV.

Customer are very price sensitive – after all pricing always comes up as a topic of conversation even on this website when new releases are announced – otherwise why promote great deals.

Time will tell!!

David

Confused by the closing of the flagship store on Oxford Street, This closed some years ago and is now a Sports Direct (ironically). There is only the smaller store down by Bond Street station which was far smaller than the flagship one. Hope the new owner knows what buildings he is actually getting

DaveM

It was according to an HMV employee I spoke to. The business rates basically destroyed it along with a poor reputation associated with stock / presentation etc.
On another note, some of the branches in Yorkshire were generally bemused by the ‘going into administration’ announcement as they still make plenty of money.

DaveM

Paul, when you are next in Yorkshire, try Leeds HMV as well. Plus there is Crash, Jumbo and Relics. We are well served up here Tha knows:)

Dean

The closure of the HMV Bath store effectively brings my physical music shopping to an end right now. I would visit at least once a week and almost without exception would buy something each time. It was a great, great store, with wonderful staff and my thoughts go out to them. Whilst it is good to know that the chain has been rescued and that Nipper will stay with us a while longer, it’s hard to feel positive about this right now. Unless they get their online store up & running and operating in the right way, sadly they won’t be getting my money anymore.

SimonP

Bugger, the Bath store is my local, too. I live roughly halfway between Bath and Salisbury and the Salisbury branch was shut years ago. It was much smaller than Bath, though.

My actual nearest music shop is a great place called Raves From The Grave. Their prices are too high for my liking however with CDs being £13-14 each. I only ever go in there when they do a 3 for 2 deal!