Business News Retail

HMV “unlikely” to return to Canada, following Sunrise rescue deal

By | Published on Friday 8 February 2019


When it was announced earlier this week that Canadian music retailer Sunrise Records was taking on the HMV UK business, many people’s first question was whether that meant HMV stores here would be rebranded under the Sunrise name. In Canada, it turns out, the opposite question was posed.

Sunrise greatly expanded its Canadian business two years ago by taking over a whole load of old HMV Canada stores, after the Canadian HMV business was wound up. Those stores were then rebranded as Sunrise Records. But after Sunrise then bought HMV UK, and confirmed it would keep the HMV brand alive on the British high street, some wondered whether the company might therefore want to bring the brand back to Canada too.

So much so, The Canadian Press asked Sunrise President Doug Putman whether the UK deal might result in HMV returning to the Canadian high street. That, Putman said, was “unlikely, but definitely possible”.

The Sunrise boss also elaborated on his plans for the UK chain in the same interview, confirming that he’d employ the same strategy as in the old HMV stores in Canada, with vinyl front and centre. “We have to get a handle on the market and what is happening here, but we know we want to add a lot of vinyl to the mix”, he says. “Vinyl has been doing great”.

As for those who don’t believe even a big vinyl push will be enough to save a legacy retailer operating in an eternally shrinking market, he adds: “Who doesn’t like to prove people wrong? We know there is an ability to make money at this. When you can do something you love and it makes money, those are great things”.

Elsewhere in HMV news, back in the UK – while 100 of the entertainment retailer’s stores have been saved by the Sunrise deal – 27 are closing down. Including a branch in Plymouth. Noting that turn of events, a call has been put out on social media for people to stand outside the closed Plymouth store later this month and shout “nooooooooo” en masse. Said call has so far attracted 2000 possible attendees on Facebook.

The plan is simple: “Everybody meets outside the closed HMV in Drake Circus and screams the classic line from ‘Star Wars’ – “NOOOOOOO!” Then leaves as if nothing happened”.

As the 16 Feb event drew increased interest, the person who proposed it commented: “Well this got way out of hand. I didn’t expect it to get this much attention. Especially as it started off as a simple joke. But looks like it’s happening. So I’ll see you all there”.

For those who can’t attend, there are 26 other closing HMV (or Fopp) stores around the country that you could go and shout at instead.