(Original post by jameswhughes)
Yeah, I think there's a wider problem that they didn't know what they were doing, so tried to do everything. Had they focused on CDs and vinyl records they might have had more success with music enthusiasts, instead of branching out into other stuff like DVDs, iPod docks, headphones and t-shirts - things that would always be easier/cheaper on Amazon anyway and aren't really going to draw in customers.
I think that is entirely true, but obviously something has gone specifically and abruptly wrong.
HMV have always been poor at selling the product. They used to own Waterstones and rather than learning from Waterstones' ways, they taught Waterstones the way to failure from which James Daunt has rescued it.
Essentially, three sorts of customer have a need of HMV.
1 A declining group of people who do not shop online. One needs to be careful in saying that is the elderly. If your mobility is limited and you have no transport, having that nice Mr Sainsbury bring your shopping is very convenient.
2 People with an urgent and reliable need for the product. That is a much smaller group for music than for say, stationary. It is really limited to persons buying for gifts. I suspect Christmas shoppers this year have, rightly, had more confidence in online retailers' delivery operations.
3 Browsers. The average Waterstones branch carries 30,000 different titles. HMV has catered very poorly for browsers for many years. If you look at how many different Elves and Goblins sagas the average Waterstones holds, and then look at how many jazz albums, the average HMV holds, you can see the difference. Moreover, the average jazz fan is not going to buy the Greatest Hits of Benny Goodman, Benny Goodman's Greatest Hits and the Best of Benny Goodman unless there is a substantial difference in their content and what is more, he probably already owns one of them.