HMV set to undertake ME expansion

RetailME Bureau

As the British entertainment retailing company HMV’s turnaround continues to gather momentum, it has revealed plans for international expansion. It plans to set up 15 stores across the Middle East.

Through a licensing agreement with Qatar’s Al Mana Lifestyle Trading, HMV will open stores in Qatar, Bahrain, Kuwait, Oman and the UAE, while it is seeking partners in Egypt, Algeria, Tunisia and Morocco.

“Following its near collapse two years ago, this is a wise move from the music retailer. The Middle East has a vibrant and thriving retail sector and HMV, by establishing a physical presence in this new market, will have access to millions of new customers,” observes Darryl Adie, managing director of UK-based Ampersand, which works closely with retailers seeking to develop multi-channel e-commerce solutions.

HMV, which was acquired by Hilco, already has stores in Canada and Ireland and is reportedly in talks over deals to expand into Australia, China and India. The retailer is also opening five new stores in the UK this year and recently moved back into e-commerce too.

“People go to music stores for the experience, something which cannot always be created online. Picking up and holding physical albums and band merchandise is important for many music fans. It, therefore, makes sense that HMV would want to maintain a multichannel strategy,” Adie believes. “It will be interesting to see if HMV’s Middle East move will spark other UK high street retailers, who may be experiencing similar struggles, to explore the lure of emerging markets.”