Singapore's HMV to close outlet in Somerset
By Hoe Pei Shan and Melody Zaccheus, The Straits Times/ANNSINGAPORE--Reeling from the sudden closure of Gramophone last week, Singapore's music retail industry was dealt another blow with news that HMV will soon shut down its flagship store in Somerset.
September 30, 2013, 12:05 am TWN
HMV Singapore's general manager Michele Tan confirmed to The Sunday Times that Nov 4 will see the 313@Somerset outlet close for good.
No reason was given as to why it “mutually agreed” not to renew the store's lease with property group Lend Lease.
But the move will bring HMV down to a single, smaller outlet in Singapore at Marina Square.
This comes just 10 months after HMV's Hong Kong and Singapore business was bought over by Hong Kong equity firm Aid Partners Capital, a month after the British-based music giant went bankrupt in January.
Asked if HMV was planning to pull out of Singapore completely, Tan would only say she is “not in a position to answer that question but as far as I know, it will be business as usual in Singapore”.
Yet optimism is running low among music fans here, who have seen big names fall one after another as CD sales here decline in the face of cheaper online retail alternatives, such as Amazon.
U.S.-based Tower Records and home-grown chain Sembawang Music Centre, which had 26 outlets at its peak, were the first to go in 2006 and 2009, respectively.
Gramophone, another local outfit, announced its closure earlier this month.
Freddy Yim, a business development manager with a collection of some 7,000 CDs, believes the closing of HMV's flagship is another a nail in the coffin of the music retail business here.
“I really think this business just can't be sustained here any more,” said the 41-year-old.