An HMV store is seen Friday, February 24, 2017 in Montreal. (THE CANADIAN PRESS/Paul Chiasson)

HMV return to Canada ‘unlikely, but possible,’ new owner says

Ontario-based Sunrise Records bought 100 HMV stores across the UK

Ontario-based Sunrise Records and Entertainment Limited might have just purchased 100 HMV stores across the UK, but don’t expect the brand to pop up in Canada again.

Sunrise owner Doug Putman told The Canadian Press on Wednesday that it is ”unlikely, but definitely possible” that he would resurrect the brand in Canada, where 102 HMV stores were shuttered in 2017.

Instead Putman, who also runs toy and game distribution brand Everest Toys, revealed his focus will be on broadening HMV’s offerings to combat the rise of streaming giants and the decline of CDs and DVDs.

He said shoppers can expect to see fan-based merchandise, including board games, toys and licensed T-shirts, and mused that he’d be open to partnering with artists to do “creative, different things.”

“We have to get a handle on the market and what is happening here, but we know we want to add a lot of vinyl to the mix,” he said in a call from the UK. “Vinyl has been doing great.”

His confidence in vinyl comes amid a resurgence in the medium. Vinyl sales rose more than 21 per cent last year to hit 975,000 units, according to Nielsen Music Canada.

However, there have been some setbacks.

Calgary-based business Canada Boy Vinyl, one of the country’s only pressing plants, closed about two years ago, not long after it opened.

More recently, Concord, Ont.-based RPM Distribution, Canada’s largest distributors of vinyl records, shut down, leaving some retailers scrambling to find alternate suppliers and raising concerns about potential rises in prices.

However, Putman is undeterred and noted that vinyl has played a role in his rebuild of Sunrise, a business he bought from Malcolm Perlman in 2014, when Sunrise was down to five stores.

Putman said the business has spread to 85 locations — mostly in suburban malls, in former HMV spots — and he anticipates it will keep growing, “if we find the right locations for the right rent.”

Despite stories of an increasingly difficult music retail environment, Putman is convinced he can buck the trend with both Sunrise and HMV, which was said to be losing $100,000 a day when it was in operation in Canada.

Putman moved Sunrise into 70 of the locations HMV was vacating and managed to make Sunrise profitable in the first year he owned it. It has remained profitable, he said.

“Who doesn’t like to prove people wrong?,” he said. ”We know there is an ability to make money at this. When you can do something you love and it makes money, those are great things.”

Tara Deschamps, The Canadian Press

Like us on Facebook and follow us on Twitter

Get local stories you won't find anywhere else right to your inbox.
Sign up here

Just Posted

Crib challenge cup winners

55 plus zone 4 winners

Truck broken into, parked by local hotel

Trailer stolen from Ponoka area

Several players from Rimbey are on the West Central Tigers hockey team.

West Central Tigers tie Airdrie 3-3 in Rimbey, Saturday. Treena Mielke Photo

Governor general says multiple solutions needed for ‘complicated’ overdose issue

Julie Payette met at a fire hall with firefighters and police officers as well as politicians and health experts

Alberta Appeal Court sides with Alberta on federal carbon tax

Today’s decision is the first to side with a province against the federal government

Father and two children, from Southern Alberta, killed in fatal crash in B.C.

The single vehicle crash occured near Kamloops on Highway 5A

Teck CEO says Frontier withdrawal a result of tensions over climate, reconciliation

Don Lindsay speaks at mining conference, a day after announcing suspension of oilsands project

Harvey Weinstein found guilty of sex crimes in landmark #MeToo trial

The cases against the Hollywood mogul started the #MeToo movement

CRA puts focus on paper returns as tax-filing season opens

The federal tax collector expects to handle about two million paper returns this calendar year out of roughly 26 million filings

Teck withdraws application for Frontier mine, citing discourse over climate change

The Vancouver-based company said it will take a $1.13-billion writedown on the Frontier project in Alberta

Violent ends to past Indigenous protests haunt Trudeau government

Trudeau adopted a more assertive tone Friday, insisting the barricade must come down

Blockades remain in place as Wet’suwet’en hereditary chiefs returning to B.C.

Hereditary Chief Woos said they are ready to engage in nation-to-nation talks with the B.C.

Most Read