After last week’s flurry of snow and slowly sinking high street shops, it looks like we could finally have a bit of sunshine and good news coming through.
Last week, we started the week with music chain HMV announcing that they were being forced into administration due to competition from online retail outlets and a failure to adapt to the changing market place. This was shortly followed by the DVD chain Blockbuster also announcing that they too would be going into administration.
These events have followed large retail chains such as Woolworths, GAME and Jessops all of which have hit financial troubles in recent years.
However, news announced in the last few days could be the turn around that consumers and stores alike have been hoping for.
The first success story is that of Argos. Whilst they may not be able to claim they’ve had the son of Zeus born in any of their stores, they are able to boast that their click-and-collect online ordering service has taken off and has made a very positive impact on their sales. This is a feature that many companies, in various sectors, have jumped onto with Next and the John Lewis Partnership offering similar solutions for busy workers.
Another company having a ball over Christmas is Dixons – owners of PC World and Currys – who have reported that their sales growth has shown positive growth, which could be due to the closure of their Comet earlier in the year due to administration. The company has suggested that their profits were boosted by a high demand for tablet PCs over the festive season.
But it’s not just electrical retailers that are seeing a good time financially, clothing store Primark have also reported that their sales have jumped by a quarter in the last three months, helped by the drop in cotton prices and lower than expected manufacturing costs.
Back from the Grave?
As of today (22/01/13) the media group HMV have announced that they will be reinstating their gift cards policy, which will settle many angry customers who felt betrayed when Deloitte pulled the use of gift cards from the stores after they went into administration.
It has also emerged that Hilco – the company that bought out HMV Canada in 2011 – may be looking to purchase all or part of the HMV group. Hilco are seen as being the favourites of many record and film companies to buy the company; including Universal Music and Sony.
Deloitte has revealed that there are 50 separate groups that have shown interest into purchasing the financially troubled media chain, however if Hilco is successful in their bid it is believed that suppliers will give the company generous credit terms to help HMV get back up on it’s feet after going into administration.
If Hilco are able to push forward HMV’s online sales presence and reduce the amount, or size, of their stores then it is possible that the chain could come back from the grave and remain on our high streets for some time. Only time will tell what will happen for the company, and in the larger picture, physical media releases.
Update: It was announced on 22/01/03 at 12:13pm on the BBC News website that Hilco have bought HMV’s debt, from their lenders Lloyds and RBS, giving them effective control of the company.