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This is sad news - first Tower Records, and now HMV! I used to shop for music in the 1990s at these two locations - they had solid collections and sometimes invited artistes (like The Corrs!) to perform. Ah, the memories. Smile

The Straits Times
Published on Jan 16, 2013
Struggling music store HMV looking for buyers

London - Music and DVD retailer HMV said it was calling in the administrators after a last-ditch attempt to secure funding failed, bringing the curtain down on one of Britain's best-known high-street retail stores.

Accounting firm Deloitte has been named as the administrator and intends to keep the business running while it seeks a potential buyer, HMV said in a statement on Monday.

The company, which has struggled amid declining music, DVD and games markets, still has 239 stores in the United Kingdom and Ireland with 4,350 staff. At its two stores in Singapore, it would be business as usual "until further notice", marketing executive Rachel Tan said in an e-mail to Life! yesterday.

Last month, HMV warned a breach of its banking agreements was likely and it had been in talks with its banks to remedy the breach, it said on Monday.

"However, the board regrets to announce that it has been unable to reach a position where it feels able to continue to trade outside of insolvency protection and in the circumstances therefore intends to file notice to appoint administrators to the company," the company said.

HMV's chief executive is Mr Trevor Moore, who joined the company last year from camera specialist Jessops, which last week also went into administration.

Opened on London's Oxford Street by English composer Edward Elgar in 1921, HMV, famous for its "Nipper the dog" trademark, grew to become a musical powerhouse, selling records and albums to generations.

The firm had a hand in the Beatles' big break 40 years later, recommending the group's demo record to publishers.

It underlined its status as an industry figure by opening the world's biggest music entertainment store in London in 1984. The 1990s signalled major expansion as HMV opened abroad and branched into books and then live music venues and festivals.

In 2006, it even rejected a private equity takeover bid valued at £847 million, before the rise of online and digital music spelt the beginning of its struggles.

A rapid fall in the sales of physical CDs has seen rivals such as Zavvi go bust or others such as WH Smith exit the market. With DVD and games demand also in decline, HMV belatedly tried to shift its focus towards technology products such as tablet PCs and headphones but it faced tough competition from online firms such as Amazon.

The support of suppliers - music labels, games manufacturers and others who look to HMV as one of the last bastions of entertainment content on the high street - has been crucial.

As its debt rose - underlying net debt stood at £176 million (S$346.9 million) at its half year to Oct 27 - the company sold off much of its live entertainment business. It had disposed of book chain Waterstones in 2011.

HMV had been pinning its hopes on a late Christmas surge in sales but it sparked worries last week that such a surge had not materialised when it launched a month-long sale on some products, sending its shares to an all-time low.

HMV shares closed down 8.3 per cent to just above a penny a share on Monday, valuing the company at about £5 million.

Its shares will be suspended ahead of yesterday's open.

Well at least in singapore context there's not many music stores around anymore unlike before so it's actually good news for the small businesses. the same is true for book stores.
Another casualty out of iTune popularity i assume Sad