Head Entertainment

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Head Entertainment
Former type Private
Industry Entertainment Retail
Predecessor(s) Zavvi
Founded 2 February 2009 (2009-02-02)
Founder(s) Simon Douglas
Les Whitfield
Mark Noonan
Defunct March 2010
Headquarters Luton, Bedfordshire, United Kingdom
Number of locations 3 (at time of closure) 8 (at peak)
Area served UK
Key people Simon Douglas, Chief Executive Officer
Les Whitfield[1] Mark Noonan
Products Books
Parent Head Entertainment LLP

Head Entertainment was an entertainment retail chain in the United Kingdom. The company was formed on 18 February 2009 when Simon Douglas, former managing director of Zavvi and business partner Les Whitfield, purchased five stores from Zavvi Entertainment Group which was placed in administration on 24 December 2008.[2][3] All stores closed in early 2010 after less than a year of trading.[4]


Virgin Megastores[edit]

Main article: Virgin Megastores

Richard Branson started his first Virgin store on London's Oxford Street in 1971. In 1979, the company opened their first Megastore at the end of Oxford Street and Tottenham Court Road. Between the 1980s and 1990s, the chain grew, most notably through its merger with Our Price whilst under the ownership of WH Smith. By the 1990s Virgin Megastores had become an international franchise as part of the Virgin Group. During the early to mid 2000s Virgin Group decided to sell off most of its Virgin Megastores to various companies, including the French stores to the Lagardere Group and the American stores to Related Companies.


In September 2007 it was announced that the UK arm of the Virgin Megastores brand was to break away from the Virgin Group, in a management buy-out offer led by managing director Simon Douglas and finance director Steve Peckham.[5] EUK, of the Woolworths Group, was the main supplier of Zavvi under an exclusive supply deal. As a result of EUK entering into administration, on 24 December 2008, the entertainment retailer was also forced into administration as it was unable to source stock on favourable terms direct from suppliers.[6] As a result of its administration Zavvi closed the majority of its 130 stores, with some sold to rival HMV, and some others to a new company, Head Entertainment.

Head Entertainment[edit]

Head Entertainment was formed on 2 February 2009 by Simon Douglas, former managing director of Zavvi, Mark Noonan, former Director of Trading of Zavvi and their business partner Les Whitfield. Les Whitfield also founded the entertainment retailer Impulse which he sold in July 2007.

On 18 February, the day in which the final set of store closures was announced, Zavvi's administrators Ernst & Young sold 14 of the stores to HMV, and five to Head Entertainment.[7] An additional two stores were purchased on 20 February 2009. A third additional store, the former Zavvi store at The Mall, Cribbs Causeway in Bristol was also going to be purchased, but the company was unable to reach an agreement with the landlord. The store was subsequently taken over by HMV who relocated from their former premises at Cribbs Causeway and employed some of the former Zavvi staff. All of the remaining stock which Zavvi owned was sold to Head Entertainment.[7] It is thought[by whom?] that the partners in Head paid less than 20p a unit for the Zavvi stock.[citation needed]

Product range[edit]

Head Entertainment sold a range of products from Audio, Books, CDs, Computer software and hardware, DVDs and Video Games; a similar product mix to the stores it replaced (Zavvi, and previously Virgin Megastores). Much of the stock retailed in Head Entertainment stores was ex-Zavvi stock.

Operations and decline[edit]

Head Entertainment operated stores in Bristol Broadmead,[8] Dundee,[9] Leeds,[10] Merry Hill,[11] Bluewater,[12] Manchester Arndale Centre,[2] Cardiff and Liverpool One.[13][14] They were all former Zavvi outlets.

In December 2009 the company started a closing down sale in all stores. By 10 January 2010, the only remaining Head Stores were Bristol and Dundee (leases extended through 2011) with Merryhill's lease until Easter 2010. The Head store in Leeds closed on 10 January 2010. The remaining stores stocked a limited music chart, while new DVD releases come in the form of unused rental copies. Game stock is nominal and no clothing is sold within these stores.

The Bristol store closed on 27 March 2010[citation needed], but reopened a week later under Head Records - see below.

Head Records[edit]

Head Records
Industry Entertainment Retail
Founded 2007
Founder(s) Les Whitfield
Headquarters Leamington Spa (first store), United Kingdom
Number of locations 5 (at late spring 2011)
Area served UK
Key people Les Whitfield
Products Books
Parent Indulge Retail

In 2007, prior to the formation of Head Entertainment, Head Records had opened following the closure of the Fopp store in Leamington Spa.[15] Head Records is owned by Indulge Retail Limited, which was previously run by one of the partners of Head Entertainment, Les Whitfield. The firm's logo incorporates a side view of a head.

Head Records subsequently opened three further stores.[16][17] The Bristol ex-Zavvi store taken up by Head Entertainment closed on 27 March 2010[citation needed], but was reopened a week later by Head Records under the name "Head CD DVD Books"[citation needed]. The store contains some new stock alongside ex-Zavvi stock; the product range includes clothing and a selection of books alongside CDs and DVDs.

The former Zavvi store in Bromley was taken up by Head Records (as "Head CD & DVD"), some months after Head Entertainment had taken on its tranche of ex-Zavvi store sites. The Bromley store subsequently moved from the Zavvi site into another store location (a former Internacionale and previously Gamley's store), with the former Zavvi site being taken up by New Look. As with the Bristol store, the Bromley Head site carries a selection of new-release and catalogue products.

In December 2010, a new Head Records store opened in Belfast's Victoria Square, becoming the fourth store in the chain.

It was reported in the 10 May 2011 Weston Mercury that Head was to open a new store in Weston-super-Mare's Sovereign Shopping Centre; this occupied a unit which had been used by HMV as a temporary store over Christmas 2010.[18] Head opened on 14 May 2011. Nick Cooke, centre manager of the Sovereign Shopping Centre, said, "We are delighted that Head have chosen to open in Weston, which for too long has missed a dedicated music retailer."

On Sunday 15 January 2012 Head Records store closed in Belfast's Victoria Square. The Belfast store re-opened for business on Saturday 14 July 2012.

See also[edit]


  1. ^ "Former Zavvi boss buys eight Zavvi stores". Property Week. 18 February 2009. Retrieved 18 February 2009. 
  2. ^ a b "End of the road for Zavvi". Manchester Evening News. 18 February 2009. Retrieved 18 February 2009. 
  3. ^ "Zavvi Ceases Trading But Some Jobs Saved". Sky News. 18 February 2009. Retrieved 18 February 2009. 
  4. ^ "Head closes down". MCV. 10 December 2009. Retrieved 10 December 2009. .
  5. ^ "Branson sells Virgin music stores". BBC News. 17 September 2007. Retrieved 18 February 2009. 
  6. ^ "Why did Zavvi go under?". BBC News. 24 December 2008. Retrieved 18 February 2009. 
  7. ^ a b "End of the road for Zavvi stores". BBC News. 18 February 2009. 
  8. ^ "Broadmead Zavvi relaunched as Head after director buy-out". This is Bristol. 26 March 2009. Retrieved 6 April 2009. 
  9. ^ "Dundee jobs saved as Zavvi store is sold". 19 February 2009. Retrieved 6 April 2009. 
  10. ^ "Leeds Zavvi store 'saved'". Yorkshire Evening Post. 18 February 2009. Retrieved 6 April 2009. 
  11. ^ "Great New Stores at Merry Hill". Westfield Group. Archived from the original on 2009-06-01. Retrieved 8 May 2009. 
  12. ^ "Jobs saved at Bluewater zavvi". Kent Online. 18 February 2009. Retrieved 6 April 2009. 
  13. ^ "Meadowhall Store Directory". Meadowhall. Retrieved 4 April 2009. 
  14. ^ "OFT clears HMV to take Zavvi stores". The Retail Bulletin. 29 April 2009. Retrieved 9 May 2009. 
  15. ^ "The music is back: independent store set to take over from Fopp". Leamington Courier. 12 October 2007. Retrieved 18 February 2009. 
  16. ^ Report on Record Store Day at four Head Records stores, music-news.com
  17. ^ Les Whitfied at LinkedIn
  18. ^ Weston Mercury

External links[edit]