By Gemma Taylor – HMV has this week announced the expansion of its technology buying team, as the music and entertainment retailer continues to reposition itself in the digital sales market.
A number of new appointments and organisational changes have taken place during recent months, highlighting the growing importance of technology products within the retailer’s overall offerings.
The nine people strong team, including category buyers and supply chain managers, is now in place to take responsibility for a range of tech products.
This latest development is part of the specialist entertainment retailer’s plan to ‘fast-forward’ the roll-out of its technology offer to 150 stores across the UK and Ireland, and comes just ahead of the traditionally busy Christmas period.
This change in strategy follows disappointing sales figures and profits for the retailer last year, with like-for-like sales declining 11 per cent in the 53 weeks to April 30th 2011 and pro forma profit before tax slipping 61 per cent year-on-year.
Chairman Philip Rowley commented at the time that focusing on high-growth technology products was crucial to strengthening the company’s position in the market.
Speaking in June, he said: “In addition, as we evolve as a broader-based entertainment business, we see strong opportunities to combine under one format a focused range of portable digital products and accessories, visual, games and music and, increasingly, access to live and digital content.”
This strategic initiative for the HMV business follows a successful trial at six stores in the first half of 2011, where trading space and the range of technology products have been significantly extended.
In-store promotions and offers will be put in place to alert customers to the new technology focus in-store and a campaign using the tagline ‘Play It, Touch It, Live It’ will be communicated via a host of marketing channels.
Commenting on the expansion, HMV Head of Technology Ewan Pinder said: “We now have a really strong buying team in place – an excellent blend of experience and commerciality and youthful drive and enthusiasm, which will support our plans to expand HMV’s tech offer and our ambition to become the leading specialist retailer of personal technology on the high street.
“HMV’s remit has always been about giving its customers the widest-possible access to music, film and games, however they want to discover and enjoy them, so expanding our range of technology products, through which so many of us increasingly consume our entertainment content these days, is actually a very natural fit for us.”