Friday, January 13, 2006

HMV boss is first victim of internet price war

The internet shopping revolution claimed its first big high-street scalp yesterday when the boss of HMV and Waterstone's quit as the group blamed the combined power of online retailers and the supermarkets for plummeting sales.

Alan Giles handed in his notice after unveiling the worst Christmas trading figures of any big UK retailer so far, particularly at the HMV chain. He said there had been "a quantum jump" in online sales in recent months, while the supermarkets - especially Tesco and Asda - had once again turned the screw on price. The rise in popularity of music downloads has also undermined the traditional high-street music retail business.

Mr Giles, a music fan whose tastes range from Cream to Kasabian, initially dismissed downloading as posing little threat to his business. When the pirate site Napster emerged the HMV chief executive insisted it was not a lot different from teenagers borrowing albums to tape in the 70s. It would, he said, give them a love of music which would ultimately translate into higher CD sales.

"A year ago I was saying the internet would plateau at about 10% of this market," he admitted yesterday. "Now I say that I was wrong. I just don't know now how far it will go. This is a brave new world for retailers." He said he wanted a career change and did not intend to take another full-time job.

From today's Guardian

Pliable says - I wonder what the 'victim's' pay-off will be?

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1 comment:

Daniel said...

Well if everything that isn't in one of their sales wasn't so expensive...

Plus their commitment to niche music in their stores (excepting the huge London stores)is lamentable.

There I got that off my chest!