Buzz People

HMV faces the music in Christmas crunch test

Since Doug Putman rescued UK music retailer HMV in February, he has thrown himself wholeheartedly into running a transatlantic retail empire.
The Canadian businessman has found himself jetting back and forth between his Ontario-based Sunrise Records chain and his newer acquisition.
On average, he spends one week a month in the UK. "I must do about 500,000 air miles a year," he says.
Now he faces his latest challenge, the all-important Christmas period.
"That's crunch time," he says. "All the hard work you do for 10 months of the year, that period is when you see it come to fruition and you see how good a job you did."
A lot is riding on the chain's performance over the festive season. HMV has twice fallen into administration, in 2013 and 2018, and Mr Putman acknowledges that many people didn't expect his relaunch to last six months.
After all, there have been plenty of casualties in the sector. At the start of the 21st Century, there were a number of other big retailers selling records and CDs, including Virgin, Our Price, Tower and Fopp.
But now, although many local independent shops are still in robust health, HMV is the only national chain standing, with Fopp as its wholly-owned subsidiary.
Poor Christmas sales have capsized many a High Street retailer in recent years, but Mr Putman is pinning his hopes on the chain's "loyal fan base" and the changes he has been making.
Register Now