HMV carries on trading as administrators look at future for music chain

HMV moved to Sailmakers Shopping Centre in February. Picture: KATY SANDALLS

HMV moved to Sailmakers Shopping Centre in February. Picture: KATY SANDALLS - Credit: Archant

HMV stores – including the branch at Sailmakers in Ipswich – are continuing to trade as normal despite administrators KPMG being appointed on Friday.

Richard and David Marsh Picture: Jessica Hill

Richard and David Marsh Picture: Jessica Hill - Credit: Archant

Stores are still accepting gift cards that may have been received over Christmas as KPMG looks to sell the business as a going concern after it went into administration for the second time in six years.

High business rates, weak consumer confidence and the rise of online streaming services could all have taken their toll on HMV.

But over the weekend customers were visiting the Ipswich store – HMV is the last surviving “entertainmentt” chain left on the nation’s high streets after the loss of Woolworths and Zavvi (Virgin Megastore) a decade ago.

Today much music is either bought direct to play through phones or computers – like iTunes – or people subscribe to streaming services like Spotify which give them access to an apparently unlimited library of albums and tracks for them to hear on their connected devices.

Similarly services like Netflix or Amazon Prime have undermined sales of DVDs and Blu-rays as people can watch films without having physical discs cluttering their homes.

Shoppers in Ipswich were concerned about the potential loss – but many admitted they now buy their music or films in very different ways.

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Richard Marsh, 15, 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, often browses stores and then goes home to buy the products he sees 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,” he says. “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 like the process of seeing and feeling the products for myself,” he said.

If the worst happens and HMV does depart from the high street, Mr McRobbie said: “I’ll use Amazon instead – but I won’t be happy about it.”

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