Where Does HMV go from here?

As HMV issues its third profit warning in a year – revising its profit forecast last given only a month ago from £38m to £30m (£8m profits lost in only 4 weeks?) – I wonder where it goes from here. Apart from into the dust.

I’m doubtless one of the causes of its slow-motion demise. Years ago I would regularly visit HMV to buy CDs, DVDs and video games. Years ago.

I hadn’t been in an HMV (or any equivalent store) in at least 5 years, probably nearer 7, until last week when I needed to buy a DVD box set for a friend who wasn’t well. HMV had one copy – a 7 year old TV series – priced at £60. Amazon had the same item at £12.95. I asked at the cash desk if there was some kind of mistake – they told me that if I came back next Monday (it was Wednesday), there would be a sale on and I’d be able to buy it for only £25. Needless to say, I bought what I needed from Amazon whilst standing in the store, and got delivery the next day. Happy me, happy friend who tells me he has already raced through the first series and is on to the next boxed set.

HMV doesn’t have a model. Nor do Dixons or PC World (Dixons shares are 90% lower since December 2007 when the current CEO took over). They look like they’re going to zero. They didn’t move aggressively enough into online media when they had the chance and so their online brands rank far below those of Amazon and others. The change to Channel Islands VAT might give them a brief boost perhaps but it will be that of a dead cat.

They’re going the way of the corner store, milk deliveries and the fax machine.

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