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All over the world: HMV plans international expansion


HMV is planning to expand into new markets, just two years after falling into administration.

HMV was in dire straits, having to close 223 shops and cut 4000 jobs as a result of a £170m debt. However, after being rescued by retail turnaround firm HIlco, which bought the company’s debt from administrators and 140 stores, HMV’s fortunes have U-turned.

The chain opened 14 stores this year alone, with the ambition to add a further three to its estate portfolio before Christmas. Meanwhile, its ecommerce side of the business has outstripped sales from the brick and mortar stores, and the company as a whole has overtaken Amazon as Britain’s biggest music seller.

With its newfound expansion, the entertainment retailer has hosted over 1000 live events and signings with key artists including Ed Sheeran and the Weeknd. In doing do, it has helped rebuild its standing with key industry names including 20th Century Fox and Universal.

As well as its online store, HMV has also benefitted from a vinyl revival. Sales of records increased 80% this year on top of a 200% increase from the year before.

Riding on its success, HMV Chairman and Founder of Hilco Paul McGowen has said that there have been discussions about taking HMV’s website internationally to 10, primarily European countries. According to McGowen, demand is also high in Korea, where Irish radio station RTE is extremely popular and distributed exclusively by HMV.

“We don’t know the reason why it’s popular, I can’t explain it”, admitted McGowen.

HMV is also entering into a five year licencing agreement with the Qatari business magnate Wissam Al Mana for a potential Middle Eastern expansion. It is understood that the first new store in the Middle East will open in Dubai next summer.

Published on Monday 05 October by Philip Gallagher

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