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

Just Posted

Cowichan-based company provides glass alternatives to plastic straws

Enviro Glass Straws now producing more than 60,000 staws each year

Lexi Bainas column: Roger Sparkes honoured, CVAC art show now new and improved

A well-deserved posthumous award goes to Cowichan Theatre’s biggest booster

Workshop helps Cowichan residents understand basic of dementia journey

Free Getting to Know Dementia workshop to Duncan on Thursday, May 2.

Drivesmart column: Liability: pedestrians and drivers turning left

Alexander Zacher was walking to work early on the morning of Oct. 31, 2014 in Tsawwassen.

Homeless activists outside Notre Dame demand ‘a roof too’

Wealthy people have donated millions to effort to rebuild cathedral after devastating fire

Coming up in Cowichan: Easter Eggspress; knitting workshops

Hop aboard the Easter Eggspress at the BCFDC The Easter Eggspress is… Continue reading

Sri Lanka invokes war-time military powers after nearly 300 killed in Easter bombings

Sri Lanka’s minister of tourism says 39 foreign tourists were killed in the Easter Sunday attacks

Multiple sailing waits as BC Ferries deals with Easter Monday traffic

89 extra sailings had been added to the long weekend schedule

Ex-mayor of northern village claims its drivers are overpaying ICBC $1,800 a year

Darcy Repen says data shows Telkwa households are being ripped off for car insurance

Deadly synthetic drug found in Kamloops that puts users in ‘zombielike’ state

Interior Health warning says substance causes ‘speedy, trippy-like symptoms’ and hallucinations

Trudeau to be portrayed on ‘Simpsons’ episode

Toronto journalist who’s posted videos of himself doing impressions of the PM voiced him for the show

Elizabeth May’s wedding dress a ‘walk through a garden’ on Earth Day

Green Party leader set to get married in Victoria

Campbell River RCMP say alcohol and speed may be factors in collision

Woman injured after driver ran into her car on Highway 19A, says fire captain

Most Read