|Headquarters||Glasgow, Scotland, UK|
|Number of locations||50 stores (at peak)
9 stores (2011-)
|Key people||Gordon Montgomery, Founder|
|Products||CDs, vinyl records, DVDs, books, café|
|Owner(s)||HMV Retail Ltd|
Fopp is a chain of retail stores selling music, film, books and other entertainment products in the United Kingdom.
From its origins as a one-man stall in Glasgow, Scotland, in 1981, it expanded to a chain of over 100 branches throughout the country in 2007. With the demise of Music Zone, Fopp became the third largest specialist music retailer in the UK in terms of store numbers (after HMV and Virgin Megastores). Shortly after the takeover of rival chain Music Zone, Fopp went into administration in June 2007, resulting in the closure of many of its stores. Eight stores survived and are operating under the Fopp brand as an independent part of the HMV Group.
A new branch opened in mid-2009 on Exeter High Street, which closed again in late 2010. In August 2010, a Fopp branch opened up in London Gower Street, inside Waterstone's.
Having taken over rival chain Music Zone following their fall into administration, Fopp found themselves having cash flow problems. The company cancelled book deliveries in June blaming a change in location of warehouse from Bristol to Stockport (the old Music Zone warehouse).
On 21 June 2007 the company began accepting only cash transactions, stating 'card authorisation' problems as the cause. On 22 June 2007 the company closed all branches for 'stock taking' and said it was in talks with its bank. A week later the company announced a temporary closure in all its outlets and its online venture, and staff were informed that they would not be receiving their monthly pay.
On 29 June 2007 they called in receivers after a last-ditch deal that would have allowed Sir Richard Branson a way to devolve himself from the loss making Virgin Megastores without the negative PR of closing down multiple locations, but this deal failed to win support from Virgin's main supplier. The stores were closed, and staff were sent home with their monthly salaries unpaid.
The Fopp online webstore was taken down shortly after and replaced with the following message:
|“||"It is with great regret that we announce the closure of Fopp.
Our store chain is profitable, well regarded and loved by our loyal customers and staff. However we have failed to gain the necessary support from major stakeholders, suppliers and their credit insurers to generate sufficient working capital to run our expanding business.
We would like to thank staff and customers for their support over the past 25 years.
Any outstanding website orders have now been cancelled and will not be fulfilled or charged."
—Fopp closure announcement, 29 June 2007
On 31 July 2007, it was announced that HMV would take control of the Fopp brand and its stores in Cambridge, Edinburgh Rose Street (but not Cockburn Street), Glasgow, London Covent Garden, Manchester and Nottingham. On 12 February 2008, Bristol Evening Post reported that a further store would open in Bristol (in a former HMV-owned Waterstones store), a city in which three Fopp stores had traded prior to summer 2007.
On 24 August 2007, the Glasgow Union Street and Edinburgh stores reopened. The Cambridge store reopened on 25 August 2007, and the Manchester store was relaunched on the 27th. After a statement from HMV stating that they were unable to open the Covent Garden (London) branch, they finally gained the landlord's consent to take over the lease and the store reopened on 5 October 2007. Only around 10% of the original 700 employees kept their jobs.
In 2009 the HMV store in Exeter, Devon was rebranded as a new Fopp Store while HMV moved to a new building in the redeveloped Princesshay Shopping Centre. Also in August 2010, HMV opened a new Fopp store on the ground floor of the Waterstone's store (Formally part of the HMV Group) in Gower Street, London. On 30 January 2011, HMV closed the Fopp Store in Exeter due to poor sales in the recent re-form of HMV. It is the first Fopp Store to close under the HMV banner.
At their highest, nine stores were trading with the Fopp name under HMV ownership.
Rebranding and private purchase
It was also announced that the Leamington Spa store would be reopening as Head, a separate store from Fopp, but retaining Fopp's stock and assets. The HEAD store opened on 1 November 2007 and employed some of its predecessor's former employees. The store intends to host regular performances from local bands, and hopes to allow musicians, artists and authors from Leamington and its surrounding areas to sell their work there. This was initially a single store, but has more recently expanded into a chain of four sites.
On 6 December 2007 the expanding electronics and gaming chain CeX opened a store at 18 Midland Road, in Bedford, a previous Fopp store. This was also the case of the former Fopp store in the Marlands Shopping Centre in Southampton. Much of the existing Fopp shop-fitting was kept intact.
The first Fopp store was a market stall in Decourcey's Arcade near Byres Road in Glasgow opened 1981 by Gordon Montgomery. Fopp operates a keep-it-simple approach to the pricing of its merchandise with most prices rounded to whole-pound figures. It built a reputation for reasonable prices on new release and excellent prices (often £5) on non-mainstream catalogue CDs, DVDs and books. The company also had a policy called "suck it and see", whereby any purchase could be returned to the shop within 28 days for a full refund as long as it was as new.
Until 2007 there were 50 Fopp stores and 37 outlets branded as Music Zone throughout England, Scotland and Wales. Fopp appeared in The Scotsman's list of the 250 Biggest Scottish Companies of 2005.
- "Fopp closes down its 105 stores". BBC News. 29 June 2007.
- Neelam Verjee & Robert Lindsay, Music chain in talks with administrators, Times Online, 28 June 2007, accessed 16 September 2007
- Ernst & Young Press Statement
- Katie Allen (2007-07-31). "HMV to reopen six Fopp shops". The Guardian. Retrieved 2011-02-18.
- HMV starts the buy-up of Fopp, Bearded Magazine Online, 31 July 2007, accessed 16 September 2007
- "Deloitte appointed administrators to HMV Group plc, HMV Music Ltd, HMV UK Ltd and Fopp Entertainments Ltd". Deloitte UK. 15 January 2013.
- "HMV is sold to Hilco in rescue deal". BBC News. 2013-04-05. Retrieved 2013-04-05.
- Oliver Williams, The music is back: independent store set to take over from Fopp, Leamington Courier, 12 October 2007, accessed 23 October 2007
- "Interview with founder of Fopp", Scotsman Online
- Scotsman 250 (2005), Scotsman Online, accessed 16 September 2007