Belfast Telegraph

The fat lady sings for a firm that didn't change record

By Donald McFetridge

January is traditionally the cruellest month in retail and this year is no different. We're only half-way through the month and we've already seen carnage with the demise of Jessops and HMV.

The writing was on the wall for HMV for some time as analysts watched it struggle with increasingly high operating costs and witnessed it trying to manage a huge burden of debt.

During its recent trading history, it had to sell off the "family silver" in the shape of Waterstones and some of its entertainment businesses to try to remain afloat.

Like Jessops, HMV failed to actively respond to changing consumer behaviour and purchasing patterns. It was also too late setting up on e-Street.

The advent of downloading music and supermarkets selling CDs and DVDs spelt disaster for the company. It is yet another example of a retailer with a far-too-large store portfolio, failing to keep up with the times.

Jessops failed to see the real 'picture' while HMV was sadly playing the wrong 'tune'.

In the iconic painting from which Nipper (the doggie in their logo) was taken, he was originally listening to a phonograph which was updated to a gramophone.

What a shame the owners hadn't the foresight to slip iPod headphones on to his ears. Had they done so, they could perhaps be whistling a different tune today.