HMV stores are being sought by UK supermarkets in an effort to boost their convenience store chains. Morrisons, Tesco and Sainsbury’s are queuing up to buy HMV outlets, after the music retailer fell into administration a few days ago. All the supermarkets are eyeing HMV stores for want of more small neighbourhood grocery stores because small stores are seeing rapid rise in sales despite the economic downturn.
Morrisons, which had announced last year that it would open at least 50 more convenience stores, has expressed interest to buy 20 HMV sites. In a bid to compete with its rivals, Morrisons is also believed to be eyeing Blockbuster stores after the retailer went into administration last week. Morrisons has admitted that lack of small stores has led to its poor performance during Christmas.
Hilco, the restructuring company, that had bought HMV’s debts to bail out the music retailer, is the frontrunner of the bid, having effectively gained control to block any rival bids. However, Hilco is expected to want only half of HMV stores. Hence, property consultants CBRE and Savills have been appointed to help offload potentially unwanted sites. The consultants are expected to examine offers for the stores in 10 days’ time.
New Look, JD Sports and J Crew are other interested buyers eyeing HMV outlets. It may be noted that Game Retail, which was bought out of administration last year by Comet’s former owners, OpCapita, has also expressed interest in buying 45 stores. Asda is not likely to bid for the HMV outlets as it does not operates stores under 750 sq metres (8,000 sq ft).