The previously stricken company has turned around significantly since its near-collapse in 2013, and its website re-launch will be particularly symbolic of its recovery.
HMV is re-launching its website and getting back into the world of digital music sales for the first time since its financial hardships two years ago.
A report in The Telegraph indicates that the high street chain, which experienced severe financial difficulties in 2013 and came close to complete collapse, is expected to re-launch its online store in the next couple of weeks.
The company removed its online store upon the announcement of an imminent collapse in January 2013, since which time its site has been used an awareness outlet for what’s going on in its stores – a music blog, essentially, which has fostered a reconnection with music fans. So the site's re-launch is particuarly symbolic, in this respect.
Sights like this, of the closure of HMV's Dublin store, are hopefully a thing of the past for the company
“People are switching from downloads to streaming music, so digital is eating digital but physical music sales are recovering,” said Paul McGowan, chief executive of Hilco and HMV. “We are careful that we don’t want to overcook it but there is a large potential for the UK website to lift the business.”
It’s an impressive reversal in fortune for HMV, which announced it was entering administration after building up debts of £170 million, threatening the closure of 223 branches and putting more than 4,000 jobs at risk. However, restructuring company Hilco bought 144 of the branches and turned the company around, announcing profits of £17 million by the end of 2013.
This rescue has coincided with a small revival in the physical sales of music, fuelled by a significant rise in vinyl record purchasing. Hilco also moved the company’s flagship store to 363 Oxford Street, where it began life way back in 1921 as His Master’s Voice, and began hosting a large number of in-store guest appearances and gigs as a way of rebuilding relationships with key distributors and labels.
Earlier this year, HMV announced that it had surpassed Amazon as Britain’s biggest music retailer, and has announced plans to open more stores in Britain and Ireland, so the website relaunch is just one piece of very good news for the company as of late.
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