HMV liquidation sale: massive discounts see hundreds queuing up to buy vinyl records, CDs, toys and more

Enoch Yiu

Hundreds of people showed up much before the start of HMV’s liquidation sale on Thursday morning, eager to get their hands on heavily discounted items.

HMV’s two-week long liquidation sale, the largest for a collapsed retailer in Hong Kong for a decade, started at 11am at W Square in Wan Chai. More than 100,000 CDs, DVDs, vinyl records, toys, iPhones and headphones are available at discounts ranging from 50 to 90 per cent.

Alex Fasso, a music lover, was among the first customers who patiently waited for nearly an hour in the queue to enter the venue.

“It is the last chance to look for a good bargain for vinyl and CDs at HMV,” Fasso said as he browsed some 9,000 vinyl records featuring Michael Jackson, The Beatles, Led Zeppelin, Rolling Stones and David Bowie and local stars like Denny Chan Pak-keung, Leslie Cheung Kwok-wing and Anita Mui.

HMV went into liquidation last December. Photo: Edmond So

“It is a shame to see HMV close. My dad and I used to visit the HMV shops regularly. They used to be very crowded until around 2010 when CDs were still popular.”

He added that his forays into HMV stores had greatly reduced in recent years as “it is more convenient to listen to music online and stream movies from Netflix”.

The British music retailer had entered the Hong Kong market 25 years ago and in its heyday saw superstars like Mariah Carey, Backstreet Boys and Boyzone interact with fans at its stores.

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The company went into liquidation in December as the growing popularity of online music and movie streaming services which, together with an economic downturn, cut into its sales, which was not even enough to cover the rent of its seven stores.

“We are hoping the sales will help to recoup between HK$1 million (US$127,500) to HK$2 million for the creditors,” said Wong Sun-keung, a partner at accounting firm Vision AS, which is handling HMV's liquidation.

HMV’s debt stands at HK$70 million debt, most of which is unpaid rent.

Lai Kam-mun was another early bird at the sale.

“I’m looking to buy vinyl records which are normally sold between HK$300 to HK$1,000 each. But here at the sale it is really cheap at around HK$100 each,” Lai said.

“I love music, and I always buy vinyl records and CDs. People no longer buy CDs or records as they listen to music online. Songwriters and singers don’t make much money [from royalties from streaming services] while music retailers like HMV cannot afford to pay rent. It is sad, and it is not fair to these artists as they work very hard to produce good music for us. I am here to show my last support for HMV.”

Music fan Alex Fasso was at HMV’s liquidation sale in Wan Chai, on Thursday. Photo: Jonathan Wong

Many also came to buy toys featuring movie characters from the Star Wars franchise as well as Marvel superheroes such as Iron Man, Ant-Man and Captain America.

Wong said that the 10 statues of HMV’s mascot, Nipper, would be sold by tender to get a better price, as they were among the most sought after items.

As the organisers were allowing about 150 people into the 7,000 square feet venue at a time because of safety concerns, many customers had to wait outside.

A customer who only gave his name as James, said he had to wait in line for nearly an hour.

“It was worth the wait as it was a good bargain to buy vinyl and CDs,” he said.

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