HMV’s back in profit, but it’s not just down to vinyl - Kevin Buckle
Positive news this week that HMV had finally gone into profit albeit a small one of £1.9 million from a turnover of over over £150m. Vinyl sales were given a lot of the credit though much of their success has actually been in keeping their costs down.
Even HMV can do nothing about business rates so their main drive is to keep rents low, something that very much influenced their decision when choosing a location on Princes Street. Ironically, the record shop to suffer most from HMV’s return has been FOPP – also owned by HMV – and indeed FOPP closes today and is moving to Shandwick Place.
Quite how that will work out is up for debate as while Shandwick Place is definitely a worse location than Rose Street it may benefit them to be a little further from HMV. From Avalanche’s viewpoint both shops are very good at sending over customers and we reciprocate so having FOPP further away may not be so good for us.
At a time when FOPP is moving, Avalanche is looking to extend its stay at Waverley Market, making a more long-term commitment than previously, and in December as we entered our 40th year we actualy had our highest ever takings for one shop in a month.
I should at this point also mention Underground Solu’shn the dance shop just a couple of minutes from Avalanche at the bottom of Cockburn Street that has now widened its range and gives people a slightly different option when out music buying.
While the media does exaggerate the sales of vinyl using the value of sales rather than the number of units sold, a measure in which CDs are still well ahead, there is no doubt that there are few other types of retail that have such a positive vibe at the moment.
Certainly Avalanche is not relying too heavily on vinyl, actually expanding its CD range this year and offering a wide range of T-shirts, posters and prints as well as a vintage clothing section.
Not only are the music industry’s hopes maybe resting too much on vinyl but in the States at least there may be too much reliance on one artist, with it reported this week that one in 25 of all vinyl sales were for a Taylor Swift album.
Just under a million of the 1.695 million records sold last year were Taylor’s new album Midnights which came in a variety of colours, with fans encouraged to buy them all – not something I have to admit I was keen to promote.
I’m about to publish Avalanche’s top 75 selling albums since we moved to Waverley Market in which Taylor Swift, Lana Del Rey and Japanese-American singer Mitski rub shoulders with Neutral Milk Hotel, My Bloody Valentine, Radiohead and Arctic Monkeys, who also share the top spots with My Chemical Romance, Deftones and Car Seat Headrest.
Taylor in fact does no more than hold her own against such strong competition that also includes big sellers like Gorillaz, Oasis and Frightened Rabbit.
Fleetwood Mac, Pink Floyd, The Beatles and David Bowie represent the old guard while The Smiths, Sonic Youth, Nirvana and The Cure have been with Avalanche since the eighties.
A lover of Taylor, though, is fearless protecting her reputation and will love her evermore!