Last week saw an announcement from UK retailer HMV (who sell CD’s, DVD’s, Blu-Ray, Books and other entertainment goodies) that they would be closing 60 stores over the UK. This was amongst profit warnings claiming that sales over christmas were down due to the snow and also competition from online suppliers such as Amazon and iTunes.The Telegraph ran the story which I am quoting from here:
These analysts can talk all they like about competition from Amazon and iTunes however HMV is simply failing as a company, regardless of its market competition. Let me make the case here:Here is a photo of some West Wing DVD’s on sale at HMV. Firstly there is the complete series on DVD for £59 (reduced from £200). Along side this is the 3rd season and the 7th season, both retailing at £60 each.Similarly The Wire DVD collections, firstly the complete series was available for £69 (reduced down from £100) and then season 5 (among others) was available for £53.These werent the only collections with this issue as I saw the same thing with 24, CSI and House and other major US TV shows.Now the final bit of my story is the online story. The West Wing boxset on HMV.com is £94.99 (and £50 instore) but season 3 and 7 on DVD cost only £9.49 (both are £60 in store). It is fine to compare this with Amazon and you will find the complete series for £40.86 but both season 3 and 7 are identical with HMV at £9.49.To conclude, any store that sells an item at 6 times the cost of it elsewhere (including its very own online store) is pretty likely to struggle and it only has itself to blame, and to allow this farcical pricing policy to be exposed to customers who are becoming more and more price sensitive (with VAT increases) almost drives me to the conclusion that HMV want to get out of the physical retail business entirely.
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