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

WATCH: All About Kids and Family Expo in Chilliwack

Fifth annual event had dozens of vendors for both children and adults at Chilliwack Heritage Park

PHOTOS: Spirit of the People Powwow in Chilliwack

Family Day weekend powwow a colourful, vivid celebration of Indigenous culture

ACES grows the love of gardening with annual seed exchange

The event will be returning to Harrison Mills Community Hall on March 1

How much does your city spend per person on snow removal?

Black Press Media compares 2018 ice and snow removal budgets of various Lower Mainland communities

Lucas Mannes and Calgary Dinos through to Canada West basketball semi-finals

The GW Graham grad helped his Dinos drop the Winnipeg Wesmen in a playoff series last weekend.

‘Riya was a dreamer’: Mother of slain 11-year-old Ontario girl heartbroken

Her father, Roopesh Rajkumar, 41, was arrested some 130 kilometres away

Do you live with your partner? More and more Canadians don’t

Statistics Canada shows fewer couples live together than did a decade ago

B.C. child killer denied mandatory outings from psychiatric hospital

The B.C. Review Board decision kept things status quo for Allan Schoenborn

Searchers return to avalanche-prone peak in Vancouver to look for snowshoer

North Shore Rescue, Canadian Avalanche Rescue Dog teams and personnel will be on Mt. Seymour

5 to start your day

The B.C. government released it’s 2019 budget, we break down snow removal per capita and more

Market volatility, mortgages loom over upcoming earnings of Canada’s big banks

Central bank interest hikes have padded the banks’ net interest margins

Hearings into SNC-Lavalin affair start today, but not with Wilson-Raybould

She has repeatedly cited solicitor-client privilege to refuse all comment

VIDEO: 8 things you need to know about the 2019 B.C. budget

Surplus of $247 million with spending on children, affordability and infrastructure

B.C. pot giant Tilray to acquire hemp food company Manitoba Harvest for up to $419 million

Tilray will pay $150 million in cash and $127.5 million in stock.

Most Read