The world of retail is changing. HMV with physical stores was trying to compete against internet retailers.
-- HMV can carry a limited range of music with all the expense of physical distribution.
-- An on line retailer can carry a virtually unlimited range of music on its servers and distribute it electronically for no cost.
HMV was never going to win that argument.
If HMV was going to survive it needed to move away from its current business model five years ago. Unfortunately the HMV Group chose to do that by buying the Waterstones and Ottakars book store chains - another sector under threat from on line retailers who can distribute an unlimited number of ebooks for Kindles electronically from their servers. On line companies can also sell print books cheaper than Waterstones, etc, because their costs are lower.
Running a major retail chain is hard - you have to be able to see five years ahead and plan accordingly. Get it right and your business prospers. Get it wrong and you're fcuked. HMV got it wrong..
**** the high street. It's a chav & mong wasteland. Most companies that aren't in soulless super-retail zones like westfields are probably itching for us to all get online so that they can lay off most of their student workforce.
Blame the internet mate, in Australia it's responsible for the heinous crime of letting buyers know how retailers have been ripping them off for years. Fair do's if it's only a little bit over the odds, but if I can get the same item at half the price or less, I couldn't give a rat's arse if some twat's shop closes down.
One of the problems with the high street is that it contains many shops that are run by a single person or a couple. They've learned to run it from experience and don't really understand the theory of retail and how the internet, et al are changing it. And without that knowledge, they're not going to survive. The local shopping mall close to where I live has 1/3 of the shops empty because they've not adapted - and many of those shops were local clothing shops, etc run by husband and wife teams.
There are ways for those shops to survive, but many of the people that run them are not particularly academic. So they won't get the book they need to read, or they won't read the websites they need to. Here's a good website; Retail Wire.
Its free, the news letter is excellent and some of the Brains Trust are first class.
But how do you get a couple running a small shop to start to learn the technicalities? I live in a small village and I found out the shops in the high street have an informal get together once a month in a pub back room. I offered to go along and give a few presentations on retail at no cost and just to help out. I got zero interest - and yet there are shops struggling.
Until attitudes change, the high street is fcuked.
Service is one way bricks and mortar retails can differentiate themselves from internet retailers. The best stores train their staff to discretely watch shoppers and move in as soon as they start to look a little lost. That'll typically take 90 seconds to 2 minutes after a shopper seriously starts to look at products.
If you are going to offer service as a differentiator you need to pay your staff better than minimum wage and train them properly. Dixon's are living proof that if you pay peanuts, you get monkeys.
I wonder how many Dixon's executives go into stores and see what goes on for themselves - not many from the look of it.