“I’d say it was a combination of factors, but ultimately they all added up to the same thing – working closely with our key strategic partners to make sure we have the right offers on the right product, whether it be on a Core, Mass Market or Casual Game.”
Had the team expected to win the award? “Not at all – it would be presumptuous to expect anything. But, if I'm honest, we would have been a little disappointed if all our hard work and the continuing progress we’re making as a games retailer had not been recognised in some way.
"It was a real thrill getting the ‘entertainment retailer’ award, especially for the second year in a row and we’re grateful to MCV and everyone that supported our selection.”
The hectic gaming calendar provided its own set of challenges, as Haynes points out: “The biggest test was successfully managing the huge number of releases and launches in what was an outstanding year, and making sure that all commercial opportunities were optimised. However, this was a good challenge to have to face.”
Haynes gave us the inside track on HMV’s last 12 months: “The past year has seen our most successful games trading ever. This, clearly, coincides with the golden period the industry is currently going through at the moment.
"However, I also think it reflects the culture change our own business has undergone – where we no longer regard games as an add-on to our core music and DVD offer, but an equal part of it. It also reflects the huge investment we have put behind games in terms of store space and positioning, people support, marketing and promotion for games.”
And what about the competition? Who did the folks at HMV admire most, and why? “I respect GAME for the depth of their specialist offer on the High Street.
They have faced very similar challenges to that of HMV – being a specialist High Street retailer under threat from the rise of the supermarkets and online retailers such as Amazon and Play. HMV and GAME have continued to grow their businesses even with these threats which shows the strength of both brands and the quality of the staff employed in the stores.”
But enough of looking back, what does the future hold for the retail giant?
“As a statement of intent that shows just how serious we are about games, I’d point to our exciting gaming initiatives within our Edinburgh and London Trocadero stores. Further to that, I also think the profile we give to games in our ‘next generation’ store format, which we now use in all new stores, and which we are starting to roll out across the chain, underlines our continuing commitment to games.
“I think there may be further innovations and developments, but it shouldn’t surprise anyone that we are undertaking a bold approach."