With over 200 plus stores, a dwindling share value and finance tight, HMV are not in good shape. But then that’s hardly surprising when everybody knows that their stores are much more expensive than even their own online store HMV.com. No amount of spin that the ‘shopping experience’ is worth paying for is going to convince the public that shopping in an HMV is a realistic alternative to buying a CD VAT free on the internet. So why does HMV continue to remain silent on the one thing that must be causing damage to their high street business; namely the exploitation of LVCR and the avoidance of VAT that has driven customers away from UK mainland music and DVD retail , wiped out UK mainland online music and DVD retail and caused all music retail to be based offshore in The Channel Islands ?
Back in 2005 it was clear from the announcement that HMV made when they set up HMV.com in Guersney that they were being forced offshore, as spokesman Gennaro Castaldo stated “We resisted that for as long as we could but we realised that if we were to try to compete on the same level playing field then we would have to try to get the benefit and that advantage as well”
Unfortunately with 200 VAT paying shops to support avoiding VAT on the internet was never going to level the playing field, particularly now customers can walk in to an HMV, get a ‘shopping experience’ for free, find the CD or DVD they want, and then order it VAT free on their phone from an offshore retailer.
HMV, one of the last great British companies, are now in difficulties. This must at least be partly due to their shops suffering VAT free competition, so why don’t HMV support RAVAS ? Surely stopping this avoidance of VAT on UK product will level the playing field and make the internet equal with the high street? Then at least HMV and many other high street retailers will have an equal chance of survival.
The whole UK music industry needs a major retailer on the high street and the public like shopping. Unfortunately they like VAT free prices even more.
We are not against the internet, which is clearly an important part of retail. We are against VAT avoidance and what we regard as an abuse.
We would welcome the support of HMV in our campaign and any other retailer who is affected by VAT avoidance, no matter what kind of product they sell.