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East Anglia Future 50

What's gone wrong at HMV? Shoppers share their thoughts

PUBLISHED: 13:33 28 December 2018

HMV Ipswich Picture: Jessica Hill

HMV Ipswich Picture: Jessica Hill

Archant

With it's distinctive logo of a dog peering into a gramophone, HMV is an iconic, much-loved British brand that has managed to weather economic storms for almost 100 years.

HMV Ipswich Picture: Jessica HillHMV Ipswich Picture: Jessica Hill

The first HMV-branded store was opened by the Gramophone Company on Oxford Street in 1921. But now, the future of the company looks bleak for its 130 stores - including those in Ipswich, Bury St Edmunds, Colchester and Chelmsford - as HMV is appointing administrators amid a cash crisis.

A staff member at the HMV store in the Sailmakers Shopping Centre in Ipswich said that employees there had been given the bad news this morning. “We were really shocked, we hadn’t expected it at all. Customers have been remarking on it all morning - not all of them have been nice.”

Kevin Clark, who works for an agricultural company mending tractors and lives with his wife Marisa Clark in Maldon, was on the way to HMV in Ipswich this afternoon when he heard the news.

“It’s so sad, and it’s a horrific reflection of the times we’re living in. My bet is by the end of today, the fall of one more High Street chain will be announced. HMV have been around for so many years - my teenage years were spent shopping there for vinyl, which I’ve still kept.

Kevin and Marisa Clark Picture: Jessica HillKevin and Marisa Clark Picture: Jessica Hill

“What I liked about HMV was that when there was an obscure TV series on DVD, you always knew could get it there.”

Kevin’s wife Marisa, who owns a shop in Colchester, the Junior Survival Store explained that she is going live with her online shop next week. “I’ve got to, because the footfall in town centres is no longer enough,” she says.

“You’d think that the revival of the turntable would have brought in more people into HMV.

“The government said they were going to help save our High Streets - well, they need to do it now. Don’t let it go like Woolies (Woolworths). Get in there and sort it out.”

Richard and David Marsh Picture: Jessica HillRichard and David Marsh Picture: Jessica Hill

Richard Marsh, a 15 year old from Ipswich, said that although he “likes the idea” of vinyl, he tends to download music from Alexa and Amazon Prime. “I don’t know any of my peers that shop in HMV either,” he said.

Like a growing number of shoppers, Richard’s father, David Marsh, said he often browses HMV and then goes home to buy the product from Amazon. “HMV are a spent force because they’re selling vanilla things, no matter where you get them from they’re always the same. So you buy them purely based on price.”

During the key Christmas trading period, the market for DVDs reportedly fell by over 30% compared to the previous year.

But Jack McRobbie, a student from Ipswich, still likes to buy DVDs and Blu-rays from HMV. “I love HMV, so today’s news is really not good for me.

Jack McRobbie. Picture: Jessica HillJack McRobbie. Picture: Jessica Hill

“I like the process of going shopping and seeing and feeling the products for myself. I guess if they go bust then I’ll use Amazon instead - but I won’t be happy about at all.”

Lynne Gallant, from Kesgrave, explained that her son worked for HMV through his university years, but she doesn’t buy items from the store herself. “When he first got a job at HMV, they were in danger of going bust.

“Then they moved from Tavern Street to the Sailmakers in Ipswich, so I thought they must be alright.

“They’re a bit expensive - my son used to get a staff discount, but even then it was pricey.

Lynne Gallant  Picture: Jessica HillLynne Gallant Picture: Jessica Hill

“I think those kinds of shops are out of date now. I buy most stuff online. I don’t think many people do buy CDs or DVDs anymore, because you can buy so much music online and films too, with Netflix.

“A lot of the younger generation don’t even watch live telly now. I’m surprised HMV has been going this long. ”

Suffolk Euro MP Alex Mayer said the announcement about HMV seeking administrators was “very sad news” for the staff in Ipswich and Bury St Edmunds, who now face an uncertain future. “It’s a real blow just days after Christmas,” he said. “Our High Streets are under pressure like never before with stores facing online competition while they pay Business Rates, and falling customer confidence amidst Brexit uncertainty.

“It’s been a truly dismal year for the retail sector.”

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