Music Bye then, HMV. Ish. The administrators haven't officially been called in yet, they're "preparing". But all signs, at least journalistic signs, point to the closure of the chain with four thousand employees out of jobs, and quickly. Back in 2011, when shop closures were happening I wrote that I thought that the chain would eventually be going. I hadn't thought it would be this quickly, I genuinely had a hope that their store consolidation would be enough to keep them going for a few more years. But finally, the internet's won.
Back then, I wondered if their best strategy might have been to keep the smaller stores, like the old Gas show room site on Bold Street (which is now a discount shop as per the current financial climate), return the business focus to a more localised, specialist, "independent" approach to weather the storm, keep the name on the high street, whilst letting go of the larger sites with more expensive rents. Would that have worked? No, of course it wouldn't. What was I thinking?
Having watched Jessops fall, now I'm guessing customers would have followed the routine which did for them of visiting the shop for the relevant advice then shopping online instead. I expect that was one of the causes of the chain's downfall anyway, as in a lot of cases, people browsed the physical media in store then ordered it through their smart phones, the approach that's killing most of the high street that isn't about clothes, betting or cheap candles and rugs. Assuming they haven't just downloaded or streamed it instead.
I've been trying to remember the last purchase I made at HMV. On reflection, it was probably at one of their Fopp shops instead, in Manchester, the small chain they bought out and oddly ran as a separate mainly discount entity. I think it was a dvd if Luca Guadagnino's I Am Love starring Tilda Swinton, along with a boxset of footage from the Apollo 11 mission, collectively for about four pounds. Fopp will be gone too now, which is a shame because I much preferred their faux-hipster atmosphere and in-store cafes.
Where does this leave entertainment retail in Liverpool? The indies, Vinyl Emporium at the top of Bold Street and Probe near the Blue Coat are here. A CEX or two. That's Entertainment also on Bold Street will have a bump in sales (I bought three Pink albums there last week for a fiver - not even Amazon can compete with that). But apart from that there's only the two Tesco Metros. The WH Smith kiosk at Liverpool One doesn't have music/dvds any more and none of the other supermarkets are large enough to bother. Hmm ...