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TIMELINE: HMV's battle for survival

Christopher Dring
TIMELINE: HMV's battle for survival

HMV’s protracted battle for survival ended in failure this week as the chain entered administration.

The music, video and games specialist is now continuing to trade as administrators Deloitte seeks a buyer.

It follows two years of turmoil for the entertainment giant, which has suffered in the wake of collapsing music, DVD and video game sales.

The firm has also faced an uphill battle against online retailers, supermarkets and digital downloads.

But HMV may still attract a buyer as, in many ways – despite the stiff competition and economic turmoil – it is in a better place than it has been years.

It has better supplier terms than it has ever had, particularly with music and DVD companies.

In games it has become the home of the midnight launch, with its Oxford Street branch housing the launches of Wii U and Call of Duty: Black Ops II.

The closure of the Channel Island Tax Loophole means that many of HMV’s online rivals can no longer significantly undercut it, while supermarkets have scaled back their music offerings in recent months.

HMV has also updated its online website to include digital downloads for all of its entertainment departments.

But perhaps the most significant reason to acquire the firm is the strength of the 92 year-old brand and its staff, which have worked tirelessly to turn the company around over the past two years.

The biggest challenge for HMV is whether it can make itself relevant again in a marketplace dominated by iTunes, Steam and Amazon. And that’s something a potential suitor will have to consider if it wants to make an offer.

HMV’s 24 MONTHS OF TURMOIL

January 2011
HMV announces plans to close 60 stores following a disappointing Christmas, and that its profits may fall short of expectations. Its shares plummeted 24 per cent on the announcement.

January 2011
HMV loses its credit insurance support.

March 2011
HMV issues a second profit warning, telling investors that profit before tax will be “moderately below” the £45m market expectations for its financial year. It admits it may miss some of its banking covenant tests.

April 2011
HMV makes a third profit warning just four weeks ahead of the end of its financial year. Annual profits before tax would now be around £30m.

May 2011
In a bid to satisfy lenders and reduce debt, HMV sells its Waterstones book chain for £53m to one of its shareholder’s, Russian billionaire Alexander Mamut.

June 2011
HMV sells its Canadian operation to Hilco UK for £2m.

December 2011
HMV reports a tough first half of sales and says it’s considering selling its live music division. The firm says trading conditions “may cast significant doubt on the Group’s ability to continue as a going concern.”

January 2012
HMV announces its banks have agreed to amend its covenant tests on its borrowings and waive the January 2012 test. It has given the firm more headroom following significant support from its music and DVD suppliers.

February 2012
HMV bemoans lack of support from games suppliers and admits it will be reducing space for games in its stores. It holds a meeting with games suppliers to negotiate better terms.

March 2012
HMV celebrates the news that the Channel Island Tax Loophole will be closed. The loophole has given HMV’s online rivals a major advantage. The retailer says it will be moving its  own Channel Island operation back to the UK.

April 2012
Following the mass closures of GAME stores, HMV does a U-turn on its decision to reduce space for games.

May 2012
HMV sells its London Hammersmith Apollo live music venue for a whopping £32m.

August 2012
HMV’s popular CEO Simon Fox announces his intention to leave the firm in February. Former Jessops boss Trevor Moore will take his place.

September 2012
HMV suffers a poor summer of sales. It blames a weak release schedule and the sheer number of summer events – including the London Olympic and Paralympic Games, the Queen’s Jubilee and the Euros.

December 2012
HMV sells the majority of its remaining live music business (MAMA Group) to Juno Newco Limited for £7.3m.

December 2012
Following a poor start to the festive period, HMV admits it is likely to miss its banking tests again.

January 2013
Failing to gain extra support from suppliers or lenders, HMV enters administration.

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Tags: Retail , HMV , turmoil , timeline

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