|Founded||London, United Kingdom (20 July 1921)|
|Headquarters||Maidenhead, Berkshire, United Kingdom|
|Number of locations||142 stores (including Fopp)|
|Area served||United Kingdom|
|Revenue||£1,956.7 million (2009)|
|Operating income||£70.3 million (2009)|
|Profit||£44.2 million (2009)|
HMV Retail Ltd, formerly HMV Group plc, is a British entertainment retailing company operating in the United Kingdom and the Republic of Ireland. It was listed on the London Stock Exchange and was a constituent of the FTSE Fledgling Index. The first HMV branded store was opened by the Gramophone Company on Oxford Street in 1921, and the HMV name was also used for television and radio sets manufactured from the 1930s onwards. The retail side of the business began to expand in the 1960s, and in 1998 was divested from EMI, the successor to the Gramophone Company, to form what would become HMV Group. The Chief Executive Officer (CEO) prior to administration was Trevor Moore; he replaced Simon Fox on 3 September 2012.
HMV stands for His Master's Voice, the title of a painting by Francis Barraud of the dog Nipper listening to a cylinder phonograph, which was bought by the Gramophone Company in 1899. For advertising purposes this was changed to a wind-up gramophone, and eventually used simply as a silhouette.
Acquisitions by the HMV Group have included Waterstone's in 1998 from W H Smith (sold in 2011), the music retailer Fopp in August 2007, and selected Zavvi retail outlets in February 2009. The group branched out into live music venue management in 2009 by purchasing MAMA Group, though sold the group in December 2012.
On 15 January 2013, HMV Group entered administration. Deloitte were appointed to deal with the administration of the company. On 16 January 2013, HMV Ireland declared receivership, and all Irish stores were closed. A week later, on 22 January 2013, it was reported that Hilco UK would buy the debt of HMV, a step towards potentially taking control of the company. The sale of HMV's Hong Kong and Singapore business to private equity firm Aid Partners was completed on 28 February 2013. On 5 April 2013, HMV was bought out of administration by Hilco UK for an estimated £50 million.
The antecedents of HMV began in the 1890s at the dawn of the disc gramophone. By 1902 it had become the beginnings of the Gramophone Company. In February 1907 they commenced building of a new dedicated record factory at Hayes, Middlesex. Disc records were sold in music shops and independent retailers at this time. In 1921 the Gramophone Company opened the first dedicated HMV shop in Oxford Street in London, in a former men's clothing shop; the composer Edward Elgar participated in the opening ceremonies. In March 1931 the Gramophone Company merged with Columbia Graphophone Company to form Electric and Musical Industries Ltd (EMI).
In 1966 HMV began expanding its retail operations in London. Throughout the 1970s, the company continued to expand, doubling in size, and in six years became the country's leading specialist music retailers. It faced new competition, however, from Virgin Megastores, established in 1976, and Our Price, established in 1972. Subsequently, HMV overtook Our Price in popularity and threatened their existence, having established a chain of newer, larger stores.
The company opened its flagship store at a new location on Oxford Street in 1986. It was the largest record store in the world at the time, and the official opening was attended by Bob Geldof and Michael Hutchence. Growth continued for a third decade into the 1990s, with the company reaching over 320 stores. HMV celebrated its 75-year anniversary in 1996.
All HMV stores in Germany were closed in 2003.
The group became susceptible to a takeover following a poor period of trading up to Christmas 2005. Private equity firm Permira made a £762 million conditional bid for the group (based on 190p a share) on 7 February 2006, which was rejected by HMV as an insufficient valuation of the company. Permira made a second offer which increased the value, although HMV declined it on 13 March 2006, subsequently issuing a statement that the offer undervalued the medium and long term prospects for the company, resulting in Permira withdrawing from bidding.
In 2006 the HMV Group purchased the Ottakar's book chain and merged it into Waterstone's. The merger tied into HMV's strategy for growth, as many of the Ottakar's branches were in smaller towns and outposts. The Competition Commission provisionally cleared HMV Group, through Waterstone's, for takeover of the Ottakar's group on 30 March 2006. The Commission stated that the takeover would "not result in a substantial lessening of competition". Waterstone's then announced that it had successfully negotiated a takeover of Ottakar's on 31 May 2006.
All 130 Ottakar's stores were rebranded as Waterstone's prior to Christmas 2006. In March 2007, new Group CEO Simon Fox announced a 10% reduction over three years in the enlarged Waterstone's total store space, comprising mostly dual location shops created by the acquisition of Ottakar's.
In early July 2007 retailers Fopp went into administration, with the closure of 81 stores and 700 staff made redundant. Towards the end of the month, HMV bought the Fopp brand and six of its stores. HMV claimed that the six stores had traded profitably prior to their closure, and that the deal would save around 70 jobs. They later added a seventh Fopp shop. Eventually HMV had ten stores with the Fopp name, including two new stores in Exeter and Gower Street, London. The Fopp Exeter store closed on 30 January 2011 due to the recent developments surrounding HMV's share price fall, leaving nine stores open under HMV ownership.
On 24 December 2008, Christmas Eve, HMV's rival Zavvi, also an entertainment retailer, entered administration. On 14 January 2009 a placing announcement by HMV revealed that they intended to acquire 14 of Zavvi's stores.
On 18 February 2009 five additional Zavvi stores were purchased by HMV Group, to be rebranded as HMV outlets. An additional former Zavvi store in Exeter's Princesshay development was also added. The acquisitions were investigated and cleared by the Office of Fair Trading in April 2009.
On 1 September 2008 HMV Group launched Get Closer, a social networking site which allowed users to import their own music library, rivalling other providers including online music stores Napster and the iTunes Store. The company also began piloting their refreshed loyalty scheme during 2008 under the name "pure hmv". The scheme had previously ceased to operate after being introduced in August 2003. HMV closed Get Closer in September 2009.
In the 2008 MCV Industry Excellence Awards, HMV was given the title 'Entertainment Retailer of the Year'.
As part of chief executive Simon Fox's plans, HMV started a joint venture with Curzon Artificial Eye to bring cinemas to HMV and Waterstone's stores across England. The first trial store was in Wimbledon, London. The cinema is located above the shop in a former storage room converted into three separate screens and a bar. It has its own entrance, so can be visited outside store hours, and one within the store. The trial was deemed a success and HMV planned to open more, with HMV in Cheltenham, Gloucestershire and Waterstone's in Piccadilly, London lined up next.
A few months later[when?] HMV entered into a joint venture with MAMA Group. The Group had purchased a 50% stake in MAMA Group in January 2009 as part of a deal to introduce the HMV brand to live music venues, including the Hammersmith Apollo. On 23 December 2009, it bought the whole of the MAMA Group in a live music takeover deal worth £46m.
On 5 January 2011 HMV announced that profits would be at the lower end of analysts' forecasts due to falling sales, resulting in the share price falling by 20% and an announcement of the group's intention to close 40 HMV stores, as well as 20 Waterstone's stores, mainly in towns and cities where the company operates at multiple locations. The first of the store closures began at the end of January 2011.
On 5 February 2011 HMV Ireland announced that its profits had fallen by almost 90% to €465,000, compared to €4.1 million the previous year.
HMV sold the Hammersmith Apollo to AEG Live and Eventim in May 2012 for £32 million. It sold the remainder of MAMA Group to Lloyds Development Capital in December 2012 for £7.3 million, which also included the company's 50% stake in Mean Fiddler Group.
On 15 January 2013, HMV Group appointed Deloitte as company administrators and suspended shares, putting its 4,350 UK employees at the risk of redundancy. Store gift vouchers were initially declared void since holders are classified as unsecured creditors to whom the company owe the value, but were accepted again from 22 January 2013.
HMV Ireland declared receivership on 16 January 2013 following the HMV Group's entry into administration. All Irish stores closed with immediate effect due to Irish law, with the loss of 300 jobs. Deloitte Ireland was appointed receiver The National Consumer Agency in Ireland questioned the legal basis on which HMV in Ireland refused to honour gift vouchers and this criticism was later supported by accountancy agencies claiming that HMV Ireland Ltd. was not part of the HMV UK administration and refusal of vouchers was unlawful prior to receivership. Staff working in HMV stores in Limerick and Cork City refused to leave the premises based on the uncertainty whether they will get paid for December and early January. Deloitte confirmed on 19 January that all staff would be paid what they were owed, and that it was attempting to sell the Irish stores.
Restructuring firm Hilco UK bought HMV's debt from its creditors Royal Bank of Scotland and Lloyds Banking Group, as a step towards potentially taking control of the company. It was revealed that the total debt Hilco had bought amounted to around £110 million, and that HMV owed around £20 million in tax to HM Revenue and Customs at the time of its entry into administration.
On 31 January 2013, it was reported that 190 redundancies had been made at the head office and distribution centres.
On 7 February 2013 Deloitte confirmed that 66 stores had been identified for closure. No fixed date was given for the closures but they were expected to take place in the following two months. The next day, Deloitte confirmed that an additional 60 redundancies, including the chief executive Trevor Moore, had been made at the group's head offices in London, Marlow and Solihull. Deloitte confirmed on 20 February 2013 that an additional 37 stores would close. On 26 February 2013, 6 stores were sold to supermarket chain Morrisons.
By 23 March 2013, Deloitte were seeking to complete a deal to sell 120 stores as a going concern. The decision to close several stores that had previously been identified for closure, including Stockport and Grimsby, were reversed following talks with landlords.
On 5 April 2013, Hilco UK announced that it had acquired HMV, taking the company out of administration and saving 141 of its stores and around 2,500 jobs. The total included 25 stores that had previously been selected for closure by Deloitte during the administration process. All 9 Fopp stores which HMV owned were also included in the purchase. Hilco also stated that it hopes to re-open a HMV store in Ireland following the closure of all stores in the country. The takeover deal was estimated at around £50 million.
On 9 June 2013 it was confirmed that Hilco Capital Ireland had purchased HMV Ireland, and would reopen five stores within six weeks. The former store on Dublin's Henry Street was chosen to become the new Irish flagship store; other stores selected to reopen included those in Liffey Valley Shopping Centre, Dundrum Town Centre and the Crescent Shopping Centre in Limerick. A fifth store is expected to open in Cork and possibly an additional store in Galway. HMV Ireland is to re-invest up to €4 million in its Irish stores and employ 100 people. It is also speculated that they hope to reopen on Dublin's Grafton Street in the future in a new location. On 12 June 2013 HMV Ireland confirmed its Cork City store would also reopen. Stores at The Square Shopping Centre and Blanchardstown Centre also reopened in December 2013. Additionally, 26 Xtra-vision stores will be dual-branded with the HMV name. Recently HMV has made a comeback in music buying, in a recent poll it came 2nd to Amazon in a music buying poll.
As of August 2013, HMV has 133 stores across the United Kingdom, together with 9 stores trading under the Fopp brand. Following the purchase by Hilco UK, it was reported that the company was seeking to reduce the number of store staff across the business, as part of an effort to save £7.8 million on the wages budget. Stores would lose security staff, cashiers and supervisors, with managers required to provide cover. As of October 2013, HMV has five stores in Ireland.
Independently of the UK operations, two stores in Singapore and five in Hong Kong trade under the HMV brand, and are owned by the private equity firm Aid Partners. Stores also trade as HMV in Canada, under the ownership of Hilco UK, although the Canadian business has been a separate entity since it was sold to Hilco in 2011.
In 1989 the HMV Group established its first Australian store in the Sydney suburb of Parramatta, closely followed by a second store in Chatswood in that same year. In 1990, HMV opened its flagship store in Sydney's CBD. The 1,207-square-meter superstore in Pitt Street Mall was the largest music store in the Southern Hemisphere and sold more CDs than any other store in the country. It was also awarded the ARIA Charts store of the Year on 3 occasions. By 1998, a further 27 stores were opened in key retail centres on the eastern seaboard of Australia, including other large footprint stores at Melbourne's Bourke Street Mall and Brisbane's 585-square-meter Queen Street Mall store.
In March 2000, HMV made local headlines when their larger rival, Sanity, signed a five-year deal with Festival Mushroom Records for a three-year online exclusivity window on all tracks downloaded from that label at Sanity's website. Sanity's competitors and other online services were meant to be blocked from Festival Mushroom's catalogue for that period unless Sanity agreed to deal with them. Chaos.com and Leading Edge Music both made public threats to boycott Festival Mushroom's content, but HMV Australia (whose website did not offer downloading) followed through, removing all CDs from their domestic stores, adding they would do the same overseas. By the next week, Festival Mushroom backed down, stating Sanity would simply be the wholesaler of their digital downloads for the next three years, requiring them to make all products available to other retailers at the time of release.
In October 2005, Sanity's owner, Brazin Limited acquired the Australian operations of HMV for A$4 million (£1.7 million). The HMV Group's agreement with Brazin was to phase out the HMV brand in Australia by 2010. Immediately after this acquisition of HMV's 32 outlets, this put Brazin at its peak with its 74 Virgin Megastore and Virgin At Myer stores, in addition to Sanity's 215, and EzyDVD's 63 outlets around the country (not counting non-entertainment retail chains within Brazin, such as Bras 'N' Things) and was by far Australia's largest entertainment retailer with close to 43% of the music retail market. However, most HMV stores in Australia had very high overhead costs due to their large footprints and expensive locations, thus most were gradually closed upon the end of rental leases. The remaining stores were re-branded to Sanity over the next five years. The horizontal merger was approved by the ACCC that same month leaving Brazin to merge marketing and general operations within the one entertainment division. Also in October, Brazin officially launched its Pulse loyalty card after a year of testing in the market. It worked by giving the customer one point for every dollar spent across Brazin's store network, receiving a $5 discount voucher or other offers once 100 points were reached.
By December 2006, HMV had already shrunk to 22 outlets from its peak of 32 the year before.
HMV's Australian flagship store in Pitt Street Mall was shut down on Friday 31 August 2007, when the Mid City Centre shopping centre it was located in was closed for renovation, and the large Bourke Street Mall store closed on Tuesday 19 February 2008. By mid-2010 the last HMV store was closed in Brisbane by Sanity Entertainment (formerly Brazin Limited), and the last re-branded HMV store trading as Sanity closed at Indooroopilly Shopping Centre in December 2012.
HMV established a subsidiary in Canada in 1988 following the purchase of Mister Sound by EMI Music Canada. In June 2011, HMV sold the business for £2 million to Hilco. As of 2012, HMV Canada has 113 stores. It remains a separate business to HMV in the UK, despite both companies being owned by Hilco.
HMV stores in the U.S. did not have rights to the His Master's Voice trademark; in those countries, that trademark is part of the RCA trademark portfolio owned by Technicolor SA and licensed to others., HMV was not prevented from using its initials in the U.S.
HMV had a handful of stores in the Eastern United States, which in their final years were overseen by HMV's Canadian operations. In the 1990s they had a significant presence in Manhattan.
Poor real estate decisions made in the early 1990s rendered the United States stores uneconomical and HMV gradually extricated itself from leases, and the final store in the United States, having lost £500,000 in 2003 and £1 million in 2004, closed on 3 November 2004.
In July 2007, HMV Japan, which operates 62 shops, was sold to DSM Investment Catorce. The stores and HMV Japan website continue to trade as HMV, but is no longer owned by HMV Group.
Since JVC Kenwood Holdings (through its JVC and Victor Entertainment subsidiaries) controls the His Master's Voice trademark in Japan, HMV Japan used a stylised gramophone of its own design as its trademark. As with the former U.S. and Canadian operations, HMV Japan's use of the initials "HMV" has never been challenged.
On 28 October 2010 the Japanese convenience store giant Lawson acquired all shares of HMV Japan from Daiwa Securities SMBCPI for ¥ 1.8 billion. KK HMV Japan became a part of Lawson, and was renamed KK Lawson HMV Entertainment (株式会社 ローソンHMVエンタテイメント) on 1 December in the same year. Terms of the deal were published on official websites.
The first overseas branch of EMI was established in India in 1901. It went on make the first audio recording in India, of singer Gauhar Jan in 1902, and witnessed Indian cinema going talkies in 1931 leading to a boom in film based songs. The Gramophone Company of India was incorporated in 1946, and existed until 1985, when it was taken over by the RPG Group. On 2 November 2000, the company changed its name to Saregama India Ltd. Saregama controls a large repertoire of Indian film and non-film music, spanning a century.
Hong Kong and Singapore
In 1994, the first HMV store was opened in the shopping centre Windsor House on 311, Gloucester Road, Hong Kong. HMV began opening stores in new shopping malls. The Tsim Sha Tsui flagship store, spanning 4 storeys at the corner of Peking Road and Hankow Road, was the largest record store in the territory until 2006, when it was re-located to another smaller location on Hankow Road. During the 2000s, HMV Hong Kong formed a partnership with Commercial Radio Hong Kong; one of their channels was renamed HMV864 and all HMV stores in Hong Kong tuned into that channel. The prices on their products especially those without promotion and discount are often higher than many independent record stores. HMV Hong Kong was the second place after the UK to launch in-store digital kiosks, and the first in Asia. HMV Hong Kong formerly used the same stylised gramophone logo as HMV Japan, but now uses the same logo as HMV UK. At present there are five stores, plus a kids' store and two cafes.
HMV was the second international music store established in Singapore, after Tower Records, which later closed down. It operates one store in Singapore, at Marina Square. The former store at 313@Somerset (which replaced one formerly in The Heeren) closed in November 2013, after closing the other at the CityLink underground mall. It is generally higher priced than other independent shops, and local chains such as Gramophone and That CD Shop offer lower prices. HMV is the only store that sells games, T-shirts, books and audio gear in addition to music and video.
Deloitte announced on 28 February 2013 that private equity firm AID Partners Capital Limited had bought the businesses in Hong Kong and Singapore. In addition, the firm acquired the rights to the HMV brand in China, Macau and Taiwan.
HMV had 1 store in Jersey, Channel Islands. It was located inside Voisins Department Store. Unfortunately, Voisins had asked them to move to a smaller part of the shop, to make way for new ranges in store, HMV then said that it would just be better to leave the island. The former HMV store is now occupied by Jo Malone, White Stuff, and Joules
HMV stores stock a range of products including audio, books, Blu-ray discs, CDs, computer software and hardware, DVDs, video games, posters, as well as an increasing range of clothing and fashion items
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