Published Feb 27, 2017We recently learned that HMV would be closing the doors on all remaining Canadian stores by April 30, but it turns out that another music retailer will be taking over many of the vacated spaces.
Ontario-based chain Sunrise Records has negotiated contracts with mall landlords to take over the leases on 70 HMV locations across Canada. Launched first in 1977, Sunrise currently operates nine stores in Ontario.
"Sunrise has always strived to offer superior service and a wide range of products at reasonable prices to its loyal customers," Sunrise Records president Doug Putman said in a press release. "We are excited to bring Sunrise nationwide, and would like to thank all of the suppliers and landlords who worked so closely with us to allow us to be a destination for physical music in Canada."
Putnam bought the Sunrise chain in October 2014, following the shutdown of the chain's Toronto's locations due to increased rent.
The move could be considered a risky one, given that HMV's closure has been chalked up to "the constant and significant shift in the way media is consumed by customers."
According to Neilsen Music Canada [via the National Post], compact disc sales dropped another 19 percent last year, while streaming rose 203 percent, racking up a total of 22 billion streams across services including Spotify and Apple Music.
Nevertheless, Putnam maintains that his goal is to make all Sunrise stores profitable by 2018. HMV, meanwhile, was reported to have been losing $100,000 a day before announcing its plans to close.
In addition to selling CDs and DVDs, Putnam revealed that the company plans to branch out into selling board games, toys and pop culture apparel, as well as an increased focus on selling vinyl. Unlike CDs, vinyl sales grew by 29 percent last year in Canada, shifting 650,000 units.
"We want to support independent Canadian artists more than ever," Putman added. "We feel it's an obligation, not to mention we love discovering talented new artists."
Furthermore, Sunrise Records has extended an invite to the 1,340 HMV employees who will soon be out of work to apply for the 700 positions that will be available at its new locations.
So far, agreements have been reached for locations in Edmonton's West Edmonton Mall, Burnaby's Metrotown location, Winnipeg, Hamilton, Mississauga and Saint Bruno, QC. There were about 30 locations (including Toronto's Yonge and Dundas Superstore) at which Sunrise were unable to reach a deal with landlords. A more extensive list of new locations is expected to be announced once lease negotiations have been finalized.
The new locations will begin to open in April 2017.