HMV winds up Hong Kong retail arm as streaming pressures persist

Retailer says it has faced ‘numerous struggles’ as Spotify and Netflix make CDs and DVDs obsolete

The Hong Kong chain’s owner, HMV Digital China Group Ltd, said in a statement it had appointed liquidators to  the unit. Photograph: Getty Images

The Hong Kong chain’s owner, HMV Digital China Group Ltd, said in a statement it had appointed liquidators to the unit. Photograph: Getty Images

 

HMV Retail, part of what was once the UK’s biggest seller of music and movies, will wind up its stores in Hong Kong after a quarter century as the rise of streaming services from Spotify and Netflix make CDs and DVDs obsolete.

The chain’s owner, HMV Digital China Group Ltd, said in a statement on Tuesday that it appointed liquidators for the unit. It said the decision came after the music-store chain, known for its logo of a cock-eared dog listening to a gramophone, defaulted on various payments and became insolvent.

Besides stagnant sales of CDs and DVDs, HMV blamed the popularity of Apple’s AirPods for sapping demand of the retailer’s best-selling earphones.

HMV’s Irish arm shut up shop earlier this year when it announced its website was to cease trading. That followed from the company’s 2016 decision to go online only when it closed all of its stores across the country.

The retailer has “faced numerous struggles and ups and downs, witnessing the rise of the record industry and the heyday of CD, VCD and DVD home entertainment systems; but as time changes the global development of information and economic climate have also changed,” HMV said in its statement.

Ultimately, the company was “unable to escape from the crushing force of the wheel of history”.

Liquidators will seek to bring in new investors to restart HMV Retail’s operations, according to the Hong Kong filing.

The retailer’s demise in Hong Kong comes five years after former UK parent HMV Plc, which once boasted a multibillion-dollar market value, filed for bankruptcy. HMV Retail shut down all its 102 stores in Canada last year.

HMV Digital shares fell as much as 21 per cent in Hong Kong on Tuesday. – Bloomberg