HMV chain saved by Canadian entrepreneur securing 1,500 jobs

HMV Administration

Canadian firm Sunrise Records has emerged as the buyer of collapsed music chain HMV, beating competition including Sports Direct owner Mike Ashley.

The firm will buy 100 stores out of administration, securing 1,487 jobs.

But 27 stores will close, resulting in 455 redundancies.

Sunrise Records chief executive Doug Putman said he was “delighted to acquire the most iconic music and entertainment business in the UK.”

No price was given.

Administrators KPMG, who ran the business until a buyer could be found, say they will tell staff this morning if their store is closing before saying which stores will be lost.

Canadian entrepreneur Mr Putman, 34, bought the retail chain Sunrise Records in 2014.

He previously bought HMV’s Canadian business in 2017, expanding his small chain into a national operation with 80 outlets.

Putman also owns a restaurant called The Granite in Bancroft, Ontario, and Makin Waves Marine, a boat dealer.

His family runs Everest Toys, one of the largest toy wholesalers in North America.

“I feel really lucky to be able to say we [will] continue to call it HMV,” he told the programme. There had been speculation that the shops might be rebranded as Sunrise Records stores after Mr Putman’s rebranding of HMV’s Canadian business.

“It is very clear that the customer wants more selection on vinyl, more depth of catalogue,” he said.

“There’s in no doubt that online is a big part of overall retail sales. But people like to come into a store, have an experience, talk with someone who understands music, loves music, loves video and entertainment. If you think online is the only future I don’t think that is the case.”

He added: “There is so much you get from come into a store that you can’t get online.”

According to Canadian broadcaster CBC last year, his aim is also to tap into local tastes in music and store autonomy is important, he said.

“I think you lose something when everything’s exactly the same,” Mr Putman told CBC. “Essentially every store has a different assortment. If metal is really big in that area, they can stock more of that.”

HMV collapsed in December, its second administration in six years.

Until now, Mr Ashley had been the likely favourite to take over the music retailer.

As the owner of more than 60% of Sports Direct, he has bought retailers including the House of Fraser department store chain and Evans Cycles.

His company also owns stakes in French Connection and Debenhams.

List of HMV stores planned for closure:

  • Ayr
  • Bath
  • Bluewater, Kent
  • Bristol, Cribbs Causeway
  • Chichester
  • Exeter, Princesshay
  • Fopp, Bristol
  • Fopp, Glasgow Byres
  • Fopp, Manchester
  • Fopp, Oxford
  • Glasgow, Braehead
  • Guernsey
  • Hereford
  • Trafford, Manchester
  • Merry Hill, Dudley
  • Oxford Street, central London
  • Queensgate, Peterborough
  • Plymouth, Drake Circus
  • Reading
  • Meadowhall, Sheffield
  • Southport
  • Thurrock
  • Tunbridge Wells
  • Uxbridge
  • Watford
  • Westfield Shepherds Bush
  • Wimbledon