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Offered €1bn in 2006, how HMV sank

HMV came to Ireland in 1986 - opening two branches on Henry Street and Grafton Street in the same year.

DEMAND for music - in the form of LPs, cassette tapes and futuristic compact discs -- was high.

It was soon vying for business alongside the likes of Irish music retailer Golden Discs and Virgin, which opened its flagship store on Aston Quay in 1986.

Sales got off to a poor start when it first opened, but it broke into profit during the 1990s only to slump again from 2000 onwards.

The trio dominated the landscape in the Eighties right up until the Noughties, when iTunes came along and changed the music retail scene radically.

HMV adapted, selling computer games, consoles, movies, merchandise and TV boxsets. But consumers continued to flock online.


Indications that HMV Ireland was struggling were flagged in February of last year when the Irish branch of the company announced a profit fall of almost 90pc to €465,000, compared to €4.1m the previous year.

The music and DVD retailer was being hit by increasing internet streaming and sales along with cheap offers by large supermarket chains.

The company itself dates back to 1921, when it opened its first shop in London.

It opened the world's biggest music entertainment store in London in 1984.

The 1990s signalled major expansion as the company extended abroad and branched into books and then live music venues and festivals.

In 2006, it even rejected a private equity takeover bid valued at stg£847m, before the rise of online and digital music -- and its failure to adapt quickly enough -- spelled the beginning of its struggles.

HMV currently has 16 stores here employing 300 people and these jobs are now at risk.

Golden Discs once dominated music sales in Ireland with 35 stores in 2000, but online competition left the company facing closure in 2009. However, the chain survived in a slimmed-down version with 15 outlets.

Virgin shut its flagship Dublin store in 2002 having run up losses of over €1.2m in one year.

-- Clodagh Sheehy