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Brands tune in to HMV’s young fashion ambitions

Entertainment group HMV is to stock streetwear brands Boxfresh and Fly53, denim brand Lee and bag brand Eastpak from next Wednesday - marking its first major push into fashion.

HMV will add the brands to its offer in 38 of its biggest HMV stores, including in London’s Oxford Street, Manchester and Birmingham. It will consider rolling the concept out across more of its 285 stores if it proves a success.

The majority of the product will be menswear, and will include items such as T-shirts, jackets and jeans, as well as accessories such as bags, hats, belts and sunglasses.

The ranges will be displayed in a department branded The Studio, the first of which was trialled in Leeds in May with a small-scale offer comprising entertainment-related fashion. It will also be sold online and potentially at HMV-owned music venues and festival locations.

The retailer’s existing clothing offer focuses on music and entertainment-inspired T-shirts, supplied by manufacturer Bravado and the Amplified brand, but it has never stocked more mainstream product.

The initiative is part of the chain’s ambition to transform itself into a “broad-based entertainment brand” and reflects the increasing importance of musicians and bands endorsing collections.

HMV expects the contribution fashion and other new merchandise make to its total sales to double from 3% to 6% by 2013.

However, the roll-out is likely to spark concern among the brands’ existing stockists, which could stand to lose sales and exclusivity.

Boxfresh has 130 UK stockists including department store chain House of Fraser and etailers, Cloggs and Asos. Fly53, which is already planning to open 26 Fly53 standalones in the UK, has 290 UK stockists and seven concessions including department store House of Fraser. Lee has 250 UK stockists.

Boxfresh managing director Daniel Morris said: “It’s too early to say [if this will affect our distribution]. The high street is changing; there are fewer multiples than five years ago. We’re all asking whether HMV can become a mid-market multiple for the industry.”

HMV appointed former Fat Face head of menswear buying Richard Stockwell to lead the venture. Stockwell, who previously worked at Marks & Spencer and Arcadia, joined in April as fashion manager and was tasked with trebling the entertainment group’s fashion sales.

Stockwell said: “Music and fashion can be a perfect fit for HMV, not least because they overlap so strongly.”

Smaller HMV stores will stock a limited clothing selection to “ensure the majority have a fashion offer”.

That’s entertainment: the lowdown on HMV

HMV has 285 stores across the UK and Republic of Ireland, and notched up sales of £1.24bn in the year to April 24, although like-for-like sales fell 2.4% over the period and the business has lost out to the surge in digital music downloads.

In the UK, DVD and Blu-ray sales account for 45% of its revenue, while 28% comes from music, 24% from games and technology and 3% from related entertainment products. At the start of 2009 it acquired part-ownership and naming rights of 11 UK live music venues.

HMV also has 125 stores across Canada, five in Hong Kong and two in Singapore.

Readers' comments (3)

  • Sounds like a good idea for Boxfresh and other streetwear brands !

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  • This is a great move by HMV. The music business has changed immensely in the last ten years and stores such as HMV need to keep changing their strategy to keep consumers coming into its stores. For the brands, it helps raise their awareness and their consumers fit nicely with HMV's so it's sure to be a winner.

    The only businesses that could lose are out are the indies stocking such brands - especially if HMV starts discounting.

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  • Good move for HMV, not so much for everyone else...

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