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Posts Tagged ‘HMV’

LongPen To Debut in Bookstores

After limited success with Margaret Atwood‘s device at the Edinburgh Book Festival – enabling Norman Mailer and Alice Munro to make “appearances” – the book-tour substitute device will make its debut into a record store and several bookstores in Canada, the United States and England for a trial run that could bring fans and their idols closer together. The London Free Press reports that kiosks will be set up at the World’s Biggest Bookstore and HMV‘s flagship record store in Toronto, Barnes & Noble in New York and Waterstone’s in London beginning after Labour Day, and could expand elsewhere if successful.

Spokesperson Bruce Walsh says shops with a LongPen kiosk could soon become hubs for celebrity sightings of a new kind. “You could potentially see the talent in their dressing room, somewhere, and they could actually sign into a bookstore,” says Walsh. “It doesn’t really matter, if there’s a kiosk set up, you can sign all kinds of different kinds of talent into wherever the kiosk happens to be.” But tech observer Richard Worzel of Toronto was skeptical the device — with a fee of roughly $2,000 in Canada and the U.S. and $4,000 in England — would be worth it to a publisher promoting a new artist. “Something like this, you’d have to show quite a lot of demand,” said Worzel.

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Fopp Name Adopted by HMV

So let me get this straight: a bankrupt music and books retailer has been bought out – with name preserved – by a somewhat less troubled music and books retailer? That’s right, the Glasgow-based chain Fopp, which went into receivership earlier this summer, has been partially “rescued” by HMV, according to the BBC. Six stores located in Glasgow, Edinburgh, London’s Covent Garden, Manchester, Nottingham and Cambridge. will be revived and the name will be preserved.

HMV said all six stores it was buying had traded profitably before they were closed and that the deal would save about 70 jobs. “Ownership of the Fopp brand will enable us to preserve Fopp’s unique identity and trading culture,” said HMV spokesman Gennaro Castaldo. “These stores will operate independently of the main HMV chain in order to preserve their distinct customer offer. Fopp is well-regarded by many music and entertainment consumers, enjoying local awareness and appeal and we’re pleased that we will be able to preserve the brand and product offer through the stores and online.” One can only wonder how this arrangement will work out…

HMV Full Year Results

HMV, parent company of Waterstone’s, announced the financial results of the year ending April 28, 2007. Total sales of merchandise increased 3.8 percent, inclusive of a 3.5% fall in like for like sales. Like for like sales up 3.8%, including an 8.8% increase in HMV UK & Ireland. Chief Executive Simon Fox commented, “The turnaround plan we announced in March is progressing well and we are on track. The benefits of our actions are beginning to come through and are reflected in the good start we have made to our new financial year.”

HMV in Talks with Virgin About Megastore Acquisition

The Financial Times reports that HMV, parent company of Waterstone’s, has been in talks with Virgin about acquiring part of its Megastores chain. The most recent contact came in the past fortnight but the two sides were so far apart on the valuation of Virgin Megastores and the structure of the deal that discussions did not advance.

HMV, which is due to report final results on Thursday, is only interested in parts of the Virgin portfolio. But any deal for a significant part of the Virgin estate would also have to overcome formidable competition hurdles: HMV is the leading music retail specialist, while Virgin is second.

HMV Recovery Predicted

The Bookseller reports that retail analyst Nick Bubb of Pali International expects an upturn for Waterstone’s when the book chain’s preliminary full-year results are revealed next week, despite a still “difficult” outlook for parent company HMV. “A year ago they had to admit that HMV UK was down 17% in like-for-like sales in May/June and that Waterstone’s was down 6% like-for-like,” he said. “So against that they should be able to report sales no worse than flat or, hopefully, some indication of a recovery.”

Bubb’s report comes as shares for HMV were up earlier this week with additional signs the stock could simply be moving ahead of its full-year results next Thursday.

More Confirmation HMV is a Sinking Ship

The Independent certainly doesn’t mince words about what to do with stock in HMV, the parent company of Waterstone’s: sell, sell, sell. What do you expect when the share price “looks like the Grand Old Duke of York – it marched all the way to the top of the hill, and it has marched back down again.” The problem is that the share prices aren’t that cheap and that there are cheaper options everywhere. Which is why at the moment, “HMV looks like a business that has had its day. A predator may be willing to come along and put it out of its misery, but it would be pointless to wait around for what may very well be a vain hope. There is little reason for investors to hang on when there are plenty of better opportunities in the market. Investors should cut their losses and sell.”

HMV Shares Climb As Takeover Talk Ensues

RTE reports that shares in HMV (parent company of Waterstone’s) surged as much as 8.9% today in London as traders cited talk of possible private equity interest. HMV said last week it was confident profits for the full year would be in line with restated analyst expectations despite an extremely tough market. The group, which issued a profit warning in March due to competition from supermarkets and the Internet, said it had struggled during recent weekends as hot weather kept shoppers off the high street. The Telegraph was more modest in its report, saying that the stock could be rising due to bearish investors buying back shares to close their positions.

Harry Potter and the Continuing Price Wars

The news is surprising, even a slap in the face to hear, but wholly unexpected. The Times reports that HMV boss Simon Fox has warned investors that the seeming cash cow known as HARRY POTTER AND THE DEATHLY HALLOWS is really far, far from that. Even though Waterstone’s had already sold nearly as many by preorder as were sold in total of the sixth Harry Potter book, because Fox said it was vitally important for the bookstore chain to offer the book at a competitive price – and so Harry 7 will be on sale for 8.99 pounds, roughly half the cover price – it would be “hard to make money”. Fox added that “if we try to be anything other than half price we are setting the Waterstone’s brand off as high price and that’s something we are trying to change.”

Fox’s comments reflect the fears of Kate Swann, the chief executive of WH Smith, and Philip Downer, the retail director of Borders. “Harry Potter will help sales but looking at the current offers we are not expecting it to help profits,” said Swann, while Downer added that “[July 21] will be a terrific evening of parties and events but we don’t expect to make any money from Harry Potter. The book will be available more cheaply from the supermarkets who treat it as a loss leader.” As the high street prepares for a Harry Potter price war with the supermarkets and online stores such as Amazon, which is already offering the book for 8.99 pounds. Asda and Tesco will deliver the Bloomsbury publication for 12p less, plus postage and packing. The retailers admit that the preorder price may fall to a 55 per cent discount closer to the publication date.

Waterstone Woes Continue

As part of HMV‘s latest financial statement showing that its year to April 28 2007 profit before tax and exceptional costs will be in line with market expectations, AFX reports that Waterstone’s like-for-like sales for the 16-week period fell 7.3 pct — again worse than the nine weeks figure of down 6.1 pct. The markets in which the group operates have continued to be extremely tough,’ said HMV chief executive Simon Fox, who took up his post last September. ‘Our businesses are now planning on the basis of continuing market change, and I am confident that the initiatives we are putting in place to reduce our costs, revitalise our core business and grow our revenues are being pursued at pace and will lead to a turnaround of the group’s performance.’

To start the turnaround for Waterstone’s, new children’s book and stationery departments are now being rolled out in its shops. In HMV Canada, the e-commerce website has been relaunched and games are now being sold in 77 stores. Fox said a good start has also been made to the group’s cost-saving programme, including the disposal in the calendar year to date of eight Waterstone’s stores.

OMD Wins Marketing Contract for HMV/Waterstone’s

Marketing Week reports that OMD UK has won the 22m pound consolidated media planning and buying account for the HMV and Waterstone’s brands. The agency, which was the incumbent on HMV’s account, pitched against MediaCom, Starcom and Waterstone’s incumbent PHD to win the business. The review, which was called in February, was overseen by HMV marketing director Graham Sim. The appointment of OMD comes at a difficult time for HMV, which is struggling in the face of competition from online music download sites and reported a loss of 31.8m pounds at the end of last year. In other words – a marketing refresh was definitely in order…

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