HMV: ‘We didn’t anticipate the opportunities that the internet could bring’

High street chain tell NME they're still hopeful for the future though

A spokesman for HMV has admitted that they failed to fully realise the impact that the internet would have on their business and that they are still paying for their lack of initiative in adapting the store for the online world.

The company’s chief executive Simon Fox admitted earlier this week that they had endured ‘disappointing’ sales over Christmas and were widely condemned by business analysts for their failure to deal with the competition from online stores.

Speaking to NME, a spokesman for the entertainment retailer said that though the company were working hard to compete with online retailers, they wish they had embraced the internet’s power earlier on.

Asked about whether they felt criticism they had received for failing to adapt to competition from online retailers had been unfair, HMV’s spokesman said:

Clearly, we wouldn’t be where we are today without having made some mistakes and the seeds of many of the challenges we now face were actually sown a good 10 or more years ago. There were an amazing generation of people who worked here then – incredibly passionate about music and highly driven, that helped to make HMV a powerhouse of music and entertainment retail, but, ironically, that very same culture arguably blinkered us to some of the changes that were beginning to bubble away around us, including the first stirrings of the internet.

They continued: “It meant that we didn’t fully anticipate and act on the opportunities that could potentially be developed online, whereas others did. If we could go back a decade, that’s the one thing we’d change.”

The spokesman went on to say that they believed HMV was the poster store for the difficulties suffered by music industry in adjusting to the internet and the rise of illegal downloading. They also said that the chain were developing new facilities to make sure they weren’t left behind again.

The spokesman added: “Because HMV is a well-known brand, it seems to symbolise many of the changes taking place in the music industry. There’s still a lot that we’ve done right and with some exciting ideas and new developments on the way, we’re now looking forwards again, bringing in a full multi-channel experience in which music will play a key part, that will fully bring together our stores with our online and digital services in a way that no one else really can.”