Created on: February 03, 2013
News of high street retailers worrying about their future is nothing new in the United Kingdom. It is common knowledge that economic conditions and competition from online retailers have led a number of retailers to cut jobs and even close down completely. However, news that HMV, short for Her Majesty’s Voice, has gone into administration has been a huge shock for many people. HMV has a history of nearly 100 years in the UK. The
first store on Oxford Street was opened by Sir Edward Elgar in 1921 and quickly grew to the extent that, by 2002, there were 150 HMV stores across the country, selling CDs, DVDs, computer games and accessories.
A ray of hope in the form of the London 2012 Olympic Games, which led to an increase in spending across the UK, led many to believe that the retail industry was finally coming out of economic misery. However, it soon slumped again and, despite the Christmas season, which usually sees record sales, HMV was forced to announce that it had gone into administration. It isn’t all bad news yet – there is a hope that Hilco, a restructuring firm that helped turn the HMV business around in Canada, can change the fortunes of the company. Nevertheless, Deloitte, the administrators, have already announced some job cuts, some 190 across head offices and the distribution network.
Some HMV employees weren’t happy to go down without a fight. One employee turned to Twitter to announce her sacking and those of her colleagues under the name of @hmvtweets and tagged #hmvXFactorFiring. The first tweet said: “We’re tweeting live from HR where we’re all being fired! Exciting!” The tweets went on to say: There are over 60 of us being fired at once! Mass execution, of loyal employees who love the brand….Sorry we've been quiet for so long. Under contract, we've been unable to say a word, or - more importantly - tell the truth.”
The tweets were eventually deleted, but not before they had served their purpose and attracted a good deal of attention. The culprit, or heroine, depending on whose side you take, proved to be an HMV employee called Poppy Rose Cleere, who was HMV’s social media planner. She later explained, via her personal Twitter account, why she had decided to go public – she believed that her managers had failed to grasp the importance of social media in the realm of customer service. She was also, clearly, devastated that she and her colleagues had lost their jobs.
The @hmvtweets account later read: “One of our departing colleagues was understandably upset. We’re still here thou, thx for supporting hmv thro these challenging times.” The tweets were quick to point out that, despite the head office and distribution network redundancies, no store employees have yet been made redundant and the stores are supposed to be staying open until all stock has been sold. There is also the ongoing hope that Hilco may yet be able to save any more job losses. That isn’t, however, much consolation for Poppy Rose Cleere and her colleagues who are now forced to join the burgeoning ranks of the unemployed.
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