Tuesday, June 28, 2011

Rant: Whoa... That's Gotta Hurt the Ego...

HMV Canada... a retail chain that did $320 Million in National sales last year... with 121 locations and their contents... sold to a "restructuring firm" for $3.2 Million.

Gotta say, I'm surprised it didn't happen sooner. Always... and I mean always... undercut by its foes Best Buy, Future Shop, Walmart, even local indy stores and the now defunct Music World & Sams in both video and music it really should've died a long time ago. Yet, for some reason, despite getting shafted, people shopped there with regularity.

Until iTunes came along.

Now its scrambling - having sacrificed a third of its space to the gods of bargain clothing fare in an effort to pay the rent, its downtown Toronto "flagship" store on Yonge just north of the Eaton Centre is now down to only the core wing - because people aren't buying music on media anymore... or Movies... or TV Shows...

They've tried to deal with this by diversifying into Games and Books... just in time to see distribution there start to increasingly go digital as well...

Plan B is to try and take the company's website - which has meandered from in house... to an Amazon store... and, apparently, back in house again - and make it relevant.

Too late. The players are pretty solidly baked now. This is where HMV needs to pull it's head from its arse and very quickly identify what they can offer that no one else can. The problem for them is that, historically, that hasn't been price and the people who are interested in niche music can't carry a whole chain of stores (why you don't see big classical and jazz sections, for example, outside the core location).

So, it's pretty likely that the price this company got it for was exactly right because the most foreseeable outcome here is extinction.

If I'm at HMV, I'd be shaking the dust off my resume and those high enough on the food chain ought best to be cashing out their company pensions -> personal RRSP's before it all disappears to England and the Government's kind enough to tell you just how boned you now are.

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