In the midst of continuing competition from the internet and supermarkets, the long term future for entertainment retail on the high street is in doubt. HMV Group chief executive Simon Fox knows this, and has announced that we are soon going to be able to buy clothing in HMV and stationary in Waterstones as part of their continuing battle for survival.
HMV and Waterstones (the last national book chain) are part of the same group and have benefitted in the short term from the demise of main rivals Zavvi and Borders, but their longer term survival has demanded creative thinking. The latest announements about diversification build upon new ventures in selling concert tickets, stocking collaborative fashion ranges from entertainers like Lily Allen and Pixie Lott and cross-selling hardware like digital book readers. HMV have also built destinations by offering café concessions even forming an art house cinema joint venture (the HMV-Curzon in Wimbledon) using the vacant space above one of their shops.
Yes of course destinations have a market - our Vital Kingston survey shows this. So please retailers, involve the community in your diversification projects and you will see that despite the obvious allure of cheap shopping on the internet and in the supermarkets we all want to see vibrant town centres.
Making vital places to go in preference to the pound shops and fashion stores is a great habit to get into. Let’s have more of that creative thinking from businesses and landlords, and more opportunities for independent stores too! Why should the chains have it all their way?