Robert Hampton

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15th January 2013

HMV Negative
Posted by at 6.37pm | In the News | No responses

HMV has gone into administration after what must be one of the most prolonged deaths in retail history – alarm bells were ringing about the business as far back as 2007.

HMV simply failed to adapt to the three-prong assault it faced. Firstly, supermarkets started selling CDs and DVDs – Tesco’s range does not extend much beyond the current album chart, but it’s cheap. Online retailers such as Amazon didn’t have to worry about inconveniences such as shops. And of course, the explosive growth in digital downloads (legal and otherwise) over the past decade took many in the music industry by surprise. In the face of these threats, HMV plodded on regardless, continuing to charge high prices and failing to develop a competitive web site.

I suspect that HMV will survive in a slimmed-down form, simply because it is, in many places, the last bricks and mortar shop where you can buy a DVD or CD in person. Just before Christmas, I was in town doing some last minute shopping with my sister. She wanted Edward Scissorhands as a present for a friend. HMV didn’t have it in stock, and we realised that there was literally nowhere else in Liverpool to go and get it (unless we were prepared to accept a second-hand copy from CEX). It was too late to order online, so she had to settle for an IOU in a card.

At this point, I am very conscious of the Amazon parcels that have arrived at my house over the past few days. It’s true that I do the majority of my entertainment shopping online. However, it’s also fun to browse in-store and see a DVD or album cover peering out at you from the shelves, perhaps containing some hidden gem of which you were not previously aware. Even the most finely-tuned Amazon wish list can’t match that. The world is moving to digital downloads for music and movies, but I’m not ready to let go of the past just yet. Sure, the first thing I do when I get a new CD is rip it into my iTunes library, but I like having a tangible object, in my hands and on my shelves, as well.

It’s a worrying time to work in a shop. In the last month, Comet and Jessops, who employed over 8,000 people between them, have both closed after administrators failed to find buyers for the businesses. Jessops’ closure was particularly depressing – it went into administration on Wednesday 9th January and closed forever two days later, as the administrators decided even a Closing Down Sale was too much hassle to bother with.

The BBC has a handy list of the high street retailers that have been hit. It makes grim reading, as many of the names on the list have already completely disappeared. Surely the future for shopping in the UK is more palatable than everywhere being one giant Tesco, with the internet for everything else? We live in interesting times…

29th December 2008

Mistletoe & Whine

I told people not to buy me chocolate for Christmas, but what was under the tree on December 25th? A Toblerone selection box and Cadbury Heroes as far as the eye could see. Of course, I could just not eat them, but if you think that’s an option for me, you clearly don’t know me very well.

Today was my first visit to the gym in 6 days (it’s been closed since Christmas Eve) and I could feel every miniature Dairy Milk bouncing around as I jogged on the treadmill.

Christmas itself was uneventful, just the way I like it. Excellently, I received the Rail Simulator Official Expansion Pack, giving me access to the Class 08 Shunter. I spent a happy Boxing Day rearranging virtual HST trailers at Old Oak Common depot, only to be told that my performance was terrible and I must do better next time. Well, if they will insist on parking Class 47s where I’m going to crash into them…

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