HMV’s fashion fix

Clothes line: Is own-brand too far?
Clothes line: Is own-brand too far?

HMV’s move into fashion earlier in the year made perfect sense. With its traditional reliance on CD and DVD sales it needed to look further afield, and there is undoubtedly a natural affinity between music and fashion.

However, developing an own-brand range is a very different proposition from stocking established labels. It requires careful planning and superb creative direction to offer a genuinely differentiated product that will convince fickle, demanding consumers to part with their cash. Then there are manufacturing and supply chain issues to contend with.

That said, HMV cannot be accused of sitting back and letting events wash over it. It is refashioning its business to protect it from the ills affecting the traditional entertainment space. But rapid change brings its own challenges. My time as marketing director at a well-known fashion brand taught me that too much, too fast can be equally as damaging as inertia.

While I’m sure that HMV is doing its homework around its planned fashion line, timing is a big issue. Consumers face big challenges ahead, not least the VAT increase in the new year and an uncertain economy at best. Perhaps a “look and learn” approach to see how its recently launched Studio is faring might be the best strategy for the time being.

Nick Gray
MD, Live & Breathe

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