Will HMV still exist in 2021? "I wouldn’t bet on it," boss Fox admits

What an age we live in when retailer bosses admit that their chains are on the road to extinction.

Having yesterday posted a loss for its last financial year, HMV boss Simon Fox – who will step down from his role early next month – has made a remarkable admission regarding the future of the retailer.

That’s a big bet,” he told The Guardian when asked if he would bet his house on HMV surviving long enough to enjoy its centenary in 2021. I’m not betting my house on that. I don’t think my wife would be happy.”

Don’t make the mistake of thinking that HMV is on course for an impending financial crisis on the scale of 2011’s struggles, however.

It has predicted profit of 10m for the next financial year and renegotiated terms with suppliers and banks have secured its future until September 2014.

There has been quite a journey from January to August,” he added. We were sailing into hurricane winds but we have got to a position where the sea is calm and we have the wind at our back again.”

Nonetheless, it’s hard to envisage any of HMV’s key markets – physical games, music and film – doing anything other than contracting as the next decade progresses.

HMV’s successful expansion into technology hardware represents its last area of retreat. After all, there’s no way of downloading an iPhone dock, games console of Dr Dre headphones. Well, not until 3D printers up their game a little, anyway.

But it’s not unfair to say that HMV doesn’t have many rolls of the dice left. Fox’s replacement Trevor Moore should be keeping his fingers crossed for a double six.

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