HMV Canada says it surpassed its target with $65M in holiday sales

TORONTO – Music and movie retailer HMV Canada says it reached $65.4 million in sales over the holiday period, bringing 2012 total sales to more than $270 million.

The company on Tuesday said it was able to surpass its $63.5 million holiday revenue target due to consumers who still want to purchase compact discs and DVDs as gifts. It adds many of the sales were also from collectible items like T-shirts, headphones and impulse buys offered in their stores.

Same store sales — a key metric in the retail industry — were up 1.4 per cent over the 2011 holiday shopping season.

Nick Williams, president and CEO of HMV Canada, said for the past few months the chain has worked on rebranding itself as a destination for entertainment products rather than just a music store, which was the focus when it first opened in Canada more than two decades ago.

Over this past year, DVDs have accounted for about half of store sales, CDs about a third, with the rest attributed to collectibles like specialty items. A decade ago, music made up 90 per cent of the chain’s yearly revenue.

As major retailers like Wal-Mart Inc. and others begin putting music and DVD products on their shelves, Williams says it’s critical for HMV Canada to differentiate itself from the pack.

“There’s definitely work for us to do to really embrace the fact that we are a specialist,” he said. “That is a different point from standard retailers just pushing something out.”

The retailer says it saw a growth of 49 per cent in its gifts and collectibles category, with T-shirt sales increasing by 29 per cent and seasonal merchandise sales increasing by 33 per cent.

Williams says consumers are still choosing to fork out cash on special edition CDs, DVDs and items that come pre-packaged with collectibles.

A bestseller for the chain in the last year was the latest instalment of the Batman movie trilogy, “The Dark Knight Rises,” that came with a cookie jar.

Other items that were popular included music releases from One Direction, Bruno Mars and Rihanna, while Star Wars, Dr. Who and The Beatles-themed Christmas lights also boosted sales during the holiday period.

Williams says the company is working on finding more ways to offer items that can be given as gifts all year round.

Last December, it launched an online music streaming subscription service called The Vault to compete with other digital services including Rdio, Slacker Radio, Rara and Deezer.

HMV Canada operates 113 stores across the country since opening its first one in 1988 in Mississauga, Ont.