HMV store escapes in first wave of closures
THE firm may be in administration, with doubts over its future, but for now the Tunbridge Wells branch of HMV has been saved.
Administrators in charge of the troubled 91-year-old music chain announced the closures of 66 stores last week but the Tunbridge Wells shop avoided the axe and will stay open for business.
James Partridge, chairman of the town's Business Forum, said it was good news that the shop, in the Royal Victoria Place shopping centre, would remain.
He said: "We certainly don't want vacant premises and I think HMV is quite attractive, even though that can't be totally right because they have gone bust.
"But you would assume our branch is profitable as it has stayed open.
"In general retail in Tunbridge Wells is a bit of a mix, but I think the statistics show that we have less vacant shops then the national average.
"We're hanging on by our fingernails."
Roger Kent, a music business consultant from Tunbridge Wells, said: "All we can deduce so far is that the Tunbridge Wells store must be one of the more profitable shops.
"But this first tranche of closures will not be the last.
"HMV is going to have to look at what it offers in store. It is not meeting consumer demand, and if it wants to survive it needs to focus on what it is good at – being a record shop with a good back catalogue."
Mr Kent added that as physical music sales still accounted for 60 per cent of the market, there was still a future for HMV despite the growth of online downloads.