HMV bosses confident firm can survive crisis

HMV's flagship store at Donegall Arcade, 'Belfast, one of the 11 remaining outlets in the province'''''Photo: Arthur Allison.
HMV's flagship store at Donegall Arcade, 'Belfast, one of the 11 remaining outlets in the province'''''Photo: Arthur Allison.

BOSSES at the beleaguered retail chain HMV said yesterday they were “convinced” they can secure a future for the business despite collapsing into administration after poor Christmas sales.

Chief executive Trevor Moore insisted there was a place for HMV on the high street and said he was “confident that we will find a solution”.

The group confirmed it had been a torrid Christmas for the retailer, saying sales had been disappointing after the failure to secure the supply of two key tablet computers saw it miss out on surging demand for the gadgets.

While it did not reveal its festive performance, HMV said sales declines remained around the 10.2 per cent level seen in the half year to October 26.

The group’s 4,500 staff face an uncertain future after it last night revealed its intention to appoint Deloitte as administrators, marking the latest in a run of high profile retail collapses following the demise of camera chain Jessops and electricals group Comet.

The firm has 11 outlets left in Northern Ireland after several closures in recent years and employs around 100 staff.

Despite immense support for the iconic brand from within the entertainment and music industries, the business has failed to stage a meaningful recovery against the onslaught of supermarket and online competition.

Sparking speculation of management involvement in an attempt to rescue the business, he said bosses remained “passionate” about the chain.

“I am every bit as passionate about HMV as I was when I joined in September. I’d like to be involved in the business going forward if the opportunity presented itself,” he said.

He added the group was doing “whatever we can in conjunction with Deloitte to safeguard jobs where possible”.

“I would like to personally pay tribute to the 4,500 people who work for HMV. Clearly this is a very worrying time for them and their families,” he said.

Neil Saunders, managing director of retail consultancy Conlumino, said the collapse was inevitable.

“In the digital era where 73.4 per cent of music and film are downloaded or bought online, HMV’s business model has simply become increasingly irrelevant and unsustainable,” he said, but Mr Moore said there was a future for HMV on the high street.

The group had viable plans to build a better online platform and capitalise on its unrivalled “knowledge and focus”.

“We have a plan in mind and don’t think it is beyond us to deliver it,” he said.