U.K. entertainment retailer HMV is to significantly expand its technology offering -further reducing the amount of shelf space available for music product.
As previously reported, the troubled retailer - which reported a net loss of £121.7 million (then $195.6 million) in its fiscal year ended April 30 - plans to increase the amount of store space dedicated to consumer electronic products and hardware across a large number of U.K. outlets (Billboard, July 9).
HMV successfully trialed a wider tech provision in six stores in the first half of 2011, which resulted in sales of consumer electronics products doubling on a same-store basis from the same period a year earlier, according to the company. The trial saw several HMV stores dedicate up to 25% floor space to electronics such as tablet PCs, netbooks, MP3 players, headphones, speaker docks, Blu-ray and DVD hardware.
Beginning with immediate effect, that business model is to be rolled out to 150 U.K. stores across the U.K. and Ireland. The last of the shop fits are expected to be completed by the run up to Christmas, says the company, which has finalized a new technology buying team to implement the changes.
Ewan Pinder, previously Head of Merchandising & Store Development at U.K. electronics retailer Comet, has been appointed HMV Head of Technology and will lead a team of nine - almost double the size of the previous set-up. Phil Browes, who also joins HMV from Comet, will work under Pinder in the newly created Category division as Category Manager. Reporting to Browes are established HMV Buyers Rob Mason (Senior Category Buyer), Dean Millward (Category Buyer), Jonny Austin and Ed Lee (both Assistant Category Buyers). The Supply Chain department is to be headed by Rebecca Hunt.
Using the tag line "Play It, Touch It, Live It," HMV will promote its tech offering - set to incorporate in-store merchandise areas showcasing Apple, Acer, Beats, Bose and Samsung products, among others - via in-store promotions and the retailer's loyalty scheme, Purehmv. TV, press and online advertising will further support the continued rollout this the fall.
"We now have a really strong buying team in place - an excellent blend of experience and commerciality and youthful drive and enthusiasm, which will support our plans to expand HMV's tech offer and our ambition to become the leading specialist retailer of personal technology on the high street," said Pinder in a statement.
"HMV's remit has always been about giving its customers the widest-possible access to music, film and games," Pinder continued, " However they want to discover and enjoy them, so expanding our range of technology products, through which so many of us increasingly consume our entertainment content these days, is actually a very natural fit for us."