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HMV: It gets worse

Robert Peston | 16:59 UK time, Tuesday, 18 January 2011

I have been told by two music and entertainment companies that they can no longer get credit insurance for additional sales to HMV.

HMV shop

Here is an extract from an e-mail sent by the "head of credit and collections" at the UK arm of a major UK manufacturer and distributor of CDs and DVDs:

"I need to advise you that our credit insurers have significantly reduced our insured credit limit on all HMV entities. Based on the current HMV balances, the limit is not sufficient to support any sales on an insured basis moving forward.
"I have this morning met with the Chief Executive and Risk Director at the insurance company to understand the reasons for such a quick and drastic reduction. Due to HMV's listing on the stock exchange, they are unable to divulge the reasons for their decision. They met with Simon Fox last week and whilst they have said that HMV has provided everything asked for, they are clearly worried following the public announcement that bank covenants may not be met. A further review will take place in 4 weeks time."

I have put this to Simon Fox, the chief executive of HMV, which issued a profit warning on 5 January after lousy trading in the run-up to Christmas.

He said he was unaware that credit insurance had been so drastically scaled back - but he said he wouldn't necessarily know, because credit insurers deal with suppliers, not with HMV itself.

When companies can't obtain insurance for their sales, they trade at their own risk.

The entertainment companies I contacted said that for the time being they were likely to trade with HMV on this basis, because HMV is so vital to their ability to sell CDs and DVDs in the UK.

Mr Fox said that HMV had not yet experienced any difficulty in obtaining stock - though that did not surprise him, because this is a time of year when typically it tries to reduce its stocks.

The entertainment and music companies I spoke to were horrified by the idea that HMV might go out of business, because they do not want to become dependent on sales over the internet or through supermarkets.

Comments

Page 1 of 2

  • Comment number 1.

    "The entertainment and music companies I spoke to were horrified by the idea that HMV might go out of business, because they do not want to become dependent on sales over the internet or through supermarkets."

    Because the supermarkets and internet companies are competitive and HMV isn't.
    HMV has overcharged for everything it sells for years.
    For once the consumer wins (because HMV loses).
    This is how capitalism is meant to work.
    Shame if you work for HMV but I've no sympathy for shareholders.
    HMV has attempted to dominate the market through buy-outs in order to be able to hold the price of CDs at 500% of their cost for at least the past 20 years.
    It will probably go bust.
    I sympathise with the people who work in HMVs stores and warehouses but if it had not maximised profits so ruthlessly in order to feed shareholders dividends then it might still be top of the heap.
    I won't miss it. Thats capitalism for ya.

  • Comment number 2.

    Woolworth's late 2008
    HMV early 2011?

    Who is next? With a small n.

  • Comment number 3.

    Perhaps it's time for HMV to be vertically integrated (again) ...? It looks like the media publishing houses need them more than the public do.

  • Comment number 4.

    Zavvi, now HMV?

    Walking around any store you get a feel for the problem. They're packed to the rafters and their efforts to diversify aren't immediately looking like great moves- selling MP3 players for example, perhaps 10 years ago, but now everyone is at it and the margins are too tight.

    HMV should look at what they do best- music and arguably film sales. This almost inevitably leads (or should) towards live music, a growth area at present surprisingly resistant to the downturn. HMV should be all over it instead they look to have treaded water for the last 10 years with the likes of Amazon, ITunes and the rest chipping away at their core business.

  • Comment number 5.

    Similar things going on with Borders in USA.
    2 weeks ago they said that they were delaying payments to suppliers ...
    http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/business-12097769
    and today big hit on their stock price
    http://www.thestreet.com/story/10976305/1/borders-plunges-on-bankruptcy-fears.html

  • Comment number 6.

    1. At 17:24pm on 18th Jan 2011, i wrote:

    Too true! And do you remember those CDs that were to be scratch-proof?

    Talking about getting their come-uppance. Forces of Capitalism at their best.

  • Comment number 7.

    The days of CD/DVD retailers on the high street are numbered because on-line retailers and supermarkets are simply better value. High street retail is about adding value, impossible to do when it's just box shifting. Good luck to them and certainly Waterstones, shopping would not be the same without them. By the way it's good to be able to read about business and not banking; than you Mr Peston. On the other hand, what do HMV's bonus earning bankers think on this matter? Maybe they could advise them to gain unstinting government support?

  • Comment number 8.

    I am sorry but what do credit insurers know?

    Once upon a time, not all that long ago these characters did not exist and all commerce was conducted on the basis of credibility and business record.

    This is just another example of third parties interfering in rational commercial arrangements just because they want a percentage.

    The question to be answered is HMV paying their bills and their staff? The answer has to be yes so please stop wishing another decent business into an early grave.

    I would agree that HMV has to restructure and close some outlets but they are the only big player left in the retail book and record industries. There has to be room for their continued existence.

    Of couse if their borrowings are too highly geared this might be a problem but that is historical corporate stuff; not real trading on the high street. If that is the case perhaps a bank will bail them out: they are doing quite well I see. Bonus anyone?

  • Comment number 9.

    "1. At 17:24pm on 18th Jan 2011, i wrote:
    Because the supermarkets and internet companies are competitive and HMV isn't.
    HMV has overcharged for everything it sells for years.
    HMV has attempted to dominate the market through buy-outs in order to be able to hold the price of CDs at 500% of their cost for at least the past 20 years."

    i,
    HMV are as competitive as they can possibly be. If you go into any HMV look at the DVD chart wall, from what you seem to think HMV are making massive profits on all if it. Well you are wrong. Any major films that are priced under £14.99, HMV is almost certainly making a loss on. When the biggest film of all time, Avatar came out on DVD and HMV were selling it at £14.99 per unit, you'd think thats a bit much. Well the supplier were selling it to HMV at around £17.50 per unit, so no wonder HMV are struggling.
    The supermarkets are competitive, only because they can afford to make a massive loss on CDs, DVDs and Games. Amazon, play.com and even HMV's own website can offer lower prices as they are based in the Channel Islands so the products are tax free. HMV are doing the best they can do when it comes to price, honestly.

  • Comment number 10.

    Like all music retailers, HMV works on pretty small margins. You have to deal with the idea first of all that there's still a lot of people out there that like to shop for music in actual shop. Given that they are, then the problem that HMV has is that it's diluted itself so that music only forms a small part of its stock. Hopefully small specialist retailers will take up the slack and it'll become like it was before Virgin started its Megastore idea. A shop in each town, no real chains. People value reputation and service. Music retailing is changing but there's still room for the record shop in most towns I feel sure.

  • Comment number 11.

    Surely their business is booming or have I misunderstood the remuneration figures in their annual report?

    Executive Directors
    Simon Fox 2010 £874,000 2009 £579,000 +51%
    Neil Bright 2010 £559,000 2009 £349,000 +60%
    Gerry Johnson 2010 £494,000 2009 £312,000 +58%
    Non-Executive Director
    Robert Swannell 2010 £200,000 2009 £50,000 +300%


    [Unsuitable/Broken URL removed by Moderator]

  • Comment number 12.

    8. At 18:23pm on 18th Jan 2011, stanilic wrote:
    I am sorry but what do credit insurers know?
    --------------------------------------------------------
    When I ran a business one of my customers was ITV plc and my insurers gave me a limit of £2,000 of credit insurance against invoices to them. Pathetic insurers!
    (They let me have more for BBC work!)

  • Comment number 13.

    This is no suprise to me I went to HMV last year to buy my wife the new Take That album on the day of its release, they hadn't even heard of it ! Walked round the corner to a well known supermarket who had big posters up about it ! Not only that but the CD's were a substantial amount cheaper !

  • Comment number 14.

    Mr P stops putting up posts about the banks and ends up with almost no reaction!

  • Comment number 15.

    1. At 17:24pm on 18th Jan 2011, i wrote:

    HMV has attempted to dominate the market through buy-outs in order to be able to hold the price of CDs at 500% of their cost for at least the past 20 years.
    It will probably go bust.
    I sympathise with the people who work in HMVs stores and warehouses but if it had not maximised profits so ruthlessly in order to feed shareholders dividends then it might still be top of the heap.
    I won't miss it. Thats capitalism for ya.

    ==============================================================

    You are seriously mis informed with your 500% profit margin.

    I worked in both HMV & Virgin Megastore from the mid 80's to the late 90's and both shops worked on the same profit margin for music and video of roughly 30%. A full price CD, depending on the label, would be from £7.29 to £8.12 dealer price before VAT and would sell in the charts between £9.99 to £12.99 and upto £14.99 as back catalogue.

    I watched the decline of sales towards the end of the 90's which was due to supermarkets selling stock on paper thin margins and downloading (although not as prolific as is is today due to lack of broadband).

    The fact new release chart CD's nowadays are circa £7.99 is not an indication that HMV were ripping people off for years, it will be the records companies dropping their dealer prices to combat online sales.

    The HMV shop I worked at shared a loading bay with Top Shop and would often see the cost price of their stock when getting deliveries. If you want to criticise 500% profit margins you need only look at the clothing retailers.

    As for the comment about scratch proof CD's, blame Tomorrow's World not HMV. That statement was the bain of my life when customers would bring CD's back scratched to hell and claiming they 'bought' it like that. However Tomorrow's World could not be blamed for the elderly customer I once served, who brought back an LP of South Pacific complaining that it kept jumping. I took it out of the sleeve and the LP had a thick greenish layer of gunge all over it and the label peeling off.

    "Was it like that when you bought it?" I enquired.
    "No, but when it started jumping I tried cleaning it", he explained.
    "What with ?"
    "Fairy liquid" he said, bold as brass.

    Trying not to laugh was hard with half the customers in the cue sniggering but I swapped it for him and threw in a free record cleaner. We could do that back then in the 80's, offer great customer service without fear of impacting profit margins.

    So when HMV does go under, and the creditors are at the door, I hold my hand up and admit I gave away a £1.29 record cleaner free of charge.

  • Comment number 16.

    Out of idle curiosity I looked up the number 1 album on HMV and Amazon web sites
    HVM £8.99 Free delivery
    Amazon £7.00 Free delivery

    Not hard to figure out is it...!

  • Comment number 17.

    It isn't hard to work out why HMV will struggle. Think of the high street rents and rates, and the cost of staff, even if many are very lowly paid. Then work out how many CDs and DVDs you need to sell when each item only has a few pounds profit margin, and maybe even less if they overstock on unpopular disks.

    The UK has simply become so expensive to live in that it is impossible for high street retailers to make money from low margin products unless they can get large volumes of customer's through the doors.

  • Comment number 18.

    In many retail sectors we are fast heading to this kind of sticky situation.

    Running a business on any high street, especially the major cities is expensive. Companies need to make healthy profits for you to have a shop at the end of your street compared with online outfits.

    Consumers will expect the best prices, it is up to the suppliers NOT to supply warehouses in the middle of nowhere who have lower overheads and support high street retail. If the high street retailers have strong web presences, the suppliers need to acknowledge there is a limited pool of sales whatever the product spectrum is.

    I am assuming people still want 'high streets' to exist at all?!

    I speak as the owner of a niche retailer with a store in central London and a website. The number of businesses with a site and warehouse who compete solely on price casts a shadow over much of retail.

  • Comment number 19.

    This is a very simple issue. Everyone else is offshore in the Channel Islands not charging VAT. HMV shops have to charge VAT. Therefore they are dead meat.

  • Comment number 20.

    I for one have been ignoring HMV since they decided to sell anyone but England t shirts during the World Cup.

    http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/10357018

    When I buy books, cd's or dvd's its anyone but HMV.

  • Comment number 21.

    Try HMV online and lo & behold their prices are very low - by exploiting the VAT free Jersey base they work from. Rather undermines their shop prices. I worked for HMV back in the 70s before they were almost ruined by Rumbelows who took them over in the 80s. They at last became real record/music shops again in the late 80s and through to about 2006 then started the gradual decline.

  • Comment number 22.

    HMV are (or soon will be) another victim of the decrepit business models of the entertainment industry. Retail margins in their industry are razor thin to non-existent, yet the same suppliers who are determined to protect their own margin at all costs are now wailing because they can't get credit insurance against their main high-street retailer? My heart bleeds.

  • Comment number 23.

    I shop in HMV regularly and there's always a Q when I'm there. If they aren't making money there's a problem elsewhere. Over Christmas, there was a particularly long line.

    Granted, there core business is shrinking but they need to spend money diversifying. The banks shouldn't be cutting off this last of many reputable names. Why not try more online delivery. Get the you programming grads in to design delivery platforms for each device from one place. Offer it in store.

    Minimise floor space and rent by trying a more advise approach with delivery booths and the stock delivered from the back....maybe even automatically to minimise staffing as well.

    Come on guy, the still deliver constant turnover which SHOULD be making enough profit to funds such developments. But instead, it's milked dry and sent to an early grave!

    Someone got a short position on them or something?

  • Comment number 24.

    People will be sorry when HMV is gone from the high street. It is all very well being able to get CDs and DVDs at cheaper prices online- but HMV provides the sort of customer service in its stores that you cannot get with a click. Staff are extremely knowledgable about the products they sell and go out of their way to advise and recommend. This has to be paid for-along with rents and overheads! To those who say good riddance to a company that apparently overcharges, this is shameful! HMV is one of the oldest music suppliers in the world and part of the fabric of music culture in this country. Anybody who applauds its decline is extremely short sighted and obviously lacking in culture! Not to mention the damage to the economy from all the people who will be thrown into unemployment!

  • Comment number 25.

    So CompactPete: HMV didn't have it in stock, but the supermarket did, and substantially cheaper than HMV? If HMV didn't have it in stock, and hadn't heard about it, how did you know it was substantially dearer in HMV?

  • Comment number 26.

    HMV - ON ITS LAST LEGS, WOBBLING TOWARDS OBLIVION.
    Technology comes; technology goes.
    How long it stays nobody knows.
    E.G. Camcorders and compact cameras: Sales of camcorders and pocket cameras plumetted.
    Why?
    BlackBerrys and smartphones took their place.
    Now let's talk about Discs, all kinds of discs:
    As the plummeting sales at HMV and other retailers prove: iTunes and pirated online music killed-off the CD years ago. The DVD is likely not far behind. More and more movie fans order their movies from on-demand services like Netflix.
    Although video games and HD movies will keep discs moving for a little while yet, I see an empty chair at the table, an empty spot, that awaits video games and HD movies.
    No time to weep. What's next?

  • Comment number 27.

    A simple and effective solution to HMV's current predicament would be to close the VAT abuse loophole operated from the Channel Islands. HMV should get behind the campaign. That way all the prices in their stores would be the same as the online equivalents. Surely this makes sense? Does Simon Fox see the value in this? Do HMV have any idea that they need to back this? Who is in control of forward planning? I realise they too have a Channel Islands set up but its only 10% of their business. Get the loophole closed and get people back in the stores. No brainer.

    I own an independent record store in London's West End. The end of HMV would be disastrous for the industry. It is not something I relish but I am fearful that as HMV is the last real chain many companies will give up on releasing records to retail and just release downloads.

  • Comment number 28.

    The article would be helpful if it gave a link showing the HMV profit warning. They doesn't seem to be a clear cut explanation for why the insurers see HMV as being such a risk. What is the current debt and trading losses?

  • Comment number 29.

    CompactPete... thats the biggest fib I have ever heard, it was impossible to walk into any HMV without seeing it at the front of store. The amount of marketing behind that album was immense.

    Closing the Channel ISland tax evaders wouldnt work, as in Isle of Man alone there are businesses "based" there purely as tax evasion. It would be great for HMv though.

  • Comment number 30.

    My wife purchased a gift from HMV for Christmas, but unfortunately I received the same gift from someone else. Upon returning the unopened DVD to store we were told that only store credit (gift card) would be issued. Fairly inconvenient and made more so by the fact that the gift card cannot be used on their website, where at least some of the prices are reasonably competitive compared with other internet retailers.

    I don't return many purchases but I do expect a refund if the product is unopened and brand new. Out of the dwindling remaining High St entertainment stores, I have always liked HMV as a place to shop and been prepared to pay a bit more for convenience. Shame.

  • Comment number 31.

    HMV has made a profit every year for the last 5 years Profit Before Tax 68.9 61.3 52.0 18.7 80.2. So this is a business that is actually increasing profits but has warned that the growth is lower than previously anticipated. Not exactly stellar growth prospect but growing in a tough environment and a changing business model- give em a break!! Insurers are like banks these days, ie. Completely risk averse

  • Comment number 32.

    HMV and the record companies that supply them made a fortune out of selling the same albums over and over to mugs like me. Vinyl, cassette, CD, remastered CD, remastered extended CD, Special Edition etc etc. Now that we've all got our music collections on MP3 (some us by purchasing them yet again) that back catalog market is pretty much gone forever and I'm sure that must have hit them hard.

    Another factor is that in previous decades one would buy an album on the strength of a single played on the radio - only to get the album home to find that aside from the track that became the single the rest of it was trash and five hard earned quid had gone down the drain. Nowadays one can hear most if not all of an album online before deciding to buy. Consequently purchasers can exercise greater discretion and sales will have fallen as a result.

  • Comment number 33.

    I find it incredible how many people think HMV are greedy and deserve to go under without no understanding of profit margins and the huge difference in tax free internet stores.

    As I pointed out in post 15 they would have a 30% profit margin from which they would pay rent, wages, electricity bills, telephone bills, credit card fees, public liability insurance, their music broadcasting license, advertising etc etc.

    Take all that into account and you will understand why one of their CD's is £1 more than a supermarket or online.

    It will be a sad day indeed if they go under.

  • Comment number 34.

    I'm not sure if I'd miss HMV for music purchases. My local HMV has been poor when it comes to range of available CDs for some time, no doubt due to the dominance of games and DVDs in stores.
    Could a collasped HMV allow smaller/independent retailers to expand? Mainstream music is provided abundantly by supermarkets and online retailers. But many music lovers enjoy browsing in a shop & finding hidden gems, and I think personally I'd prefer a decent sized independent store than a huge HMV.

  • Comment number 35.

    Credit Insurers again...Remember Woolworths?! Was it not the credit insurers pulling their cover that was the final nail in that particular retail coffin?

    I think we can all agree that when you go to any SHOP you know you are paying for the shopping EXPERIENCE...with the rents, the staff and all other associated costs of having premises.

    What I find extremely funny nowadays is the supermarkets with their self service checkouts...they are getting you to do the work of cashier and also getting you to think "Thank God I didn't have to wait in the queues!"...meanwhile they put one person in charge of SIX self service checkouts and hey the bottom line improves considerably - especially at their "convienience" stores which charge you more in any event.

    One day we will have nothing left in terms of retail other than supermarkets - but let the Government deal with competition - that's been a roaring success hasn't it - Banks being a prime example, Supermarkets probably to come when it is too late.

    Incidently as most insurers are part of a banking group...I really do wonder about their risk management! Trading risk is a risk in retail / wholesale and I can only imagine the credit insurers reducing their overall exposure over the next few months to come. And with the banks reducing their exposure as well, I think we're in for a few more HMV and Woolworth type scenarios.

    "No Risk, No Gain" remember that one? - Not surprising we live in an age where we think we can mitigate against every single risk conceivable...but when you hedge it there is ALWAYS a counterparty - in recent times this is us, the taxpayer!








  • Comment number 36.

    Hmm, in the absence of the government guarantee I wonder what limit the credit insurer would put on making a deposit with a high street bank ?

  • Comment number 37.

    On the odd occasion that I use HMV it is a poor experience. More often than not I have to queue, more often than not my local store is messy.

    It does not feel like value is being added to convenience. The world is moving one and HMV seems to have failed to capitalise on being the last remaining CD/DVD retailer on the high street now that Virgin/Zavvi/Woolworths have gone.

    Buying music and film this will is going the way of the dinosaurs.

    As for credit insurers taking the rap in these comments - surely they reveal a symptom but not the disease.

  • Comment number 38.

    Ah there's another sign of the recovery !!!

  • Comment number 39.

    As basic requirements (CPI and RPI) rise in price then luxury items will suffer reduced demand.
    The supplier credit insurers will provide insurance but only with higher premiums as the risks have increased.
    The suppliers could pay higher premiums but that extra cost would be passed to the retailer and then to the customer so demand for CDs/DVDs etc. would fall further.
    The suppliers could supply with no insurance but their own costs of borrowing would rise as the suppliers would be exposed to greater risk.
    HMV (and they are not alone in this) need high turnover to finance their business model, lower turnover means that debt cannot be serviced when it becomes due.
    Unless the board at HMV (and others) can pull a rabbit out of the hat they are dead in the water.

    As someone pointed out on a previous thread, 'it's not personal, it's business'.




  • Comment number 40.

    For tax avoidance reasons, the website is operated by HMV Guernsey.

    There's no reason to lament the passing of this one.

  • Comment number 41.

    39. At 03:18am on 19th Jan 2011, BobRocket wrote:

    > As someone pointed out on a previous thread, 'it's not
    > personal, it's business'.

    Maybe, but it's always good to see tax twisters up the creek without a paddle.

  • Comment number 42.

    "Based on the current HMV balances, the limit is not sufficient to support any sales on an insured basis moving forward"

    'moving forward'? Clearly it's possible to rise to be head of credit&collections at a major UK something-or-other without being able to construct a passable sentence.

    Perhaps their insurers are simply trying to extricate themselves from business where they have to deal with a client who uses phrases such as 'going forward'.

    Having said it twice no I feel the need to wash my hands....

  • Comment number 43.

    Jacques Cartier - why shouldn't HMV (and others) exploit the tax loophole?

    Your goverment is very aware of it and chooses to do nothing about it. Nes pas?

    A la perchoine!

  • Comment number 44.

    Not sure why there is so much hatred towards hmv. They are still standing whilst the other big names have all gone. Though Woolies and Zavvi are still on line. I don't want to have to buy my music from Tesco's. On line retailers have got it nailed on price, and Amazon customers have their own forums to share their wisdom, which can be as good as any knowledgeable shop assistant.
    Perhaps the problem is that today music is seen as such a disposable commodity that no one wants to physically own a disc that they'll throw away like a used razor. Much easier to dump a computer file. If mp3 files sounded as good as discs then a lot of people would download more, I'm sure, so perhaps hmv need to look at superior quality downloads, or cut your own cd technology instore, and get back to the core business of selling music not sweets.

  • Comment number 45.

    "40. JC
    For tax avoidance reasons, the website is operated by HMV Guernsey.

    There's no reason to lament the passing of this one."

    --------------------------------------------------------------------------

    So your complaining that HMV is using the tax laws in the channel islands to pass on much cheaper prices to their customers. i didnt realise you wanted to pay much higher prices for your products......hmmmm which world do you live on and how come the credit crunch hasnt affected you??

    I live in Jersey and have all my life been lucky that i have been able to buy products such as games (£10 cheaper) and CDs/DVDs (£4-5 cheaper) at far lower prices than in the UK. and it shows when you go into the high street branch of HMV over here. it is always packed and is easily the busiest and most profitable shop on the island. Closing HMV down would be a great shock to the economy and life on the island as our internet connection for a large portion of the island is not up to scratch and so downloading films and CD albums is not an option.

  • Comment number 46.

    I don't think people should be fooled into thinking the executive directors of HMV care about music retailing; it's just money to them. They'll happily abandon the business and its employees and move onto something else that is more profitable.

    Personally, I'll be very sad to see HMV go. I miss record shops immensely and HMV is really the last one left in most places unless there are particularly healthy independent stores.

  • Comment number 47.

    I have been told by two music and entertainment companies that they can no longer get credit insurance for additional sales to HMV.

    ------

    And you calll this important UK economic reporting??

    Shame on you Robert for digging in the dirt

  • Comment number 48.

    This is all down to the snow - when is the Government going to do something about it?

    WE NEED SALT AND GRIT!

    When will the people of Britain wake up - we're under attack.

    What is interesting about this story (which I think Robert said on the radio yesterday) was that the suppliers are going to continue supplying without the insurance - simply because they fear the monopoly and bargaining pressure of the supermarkets.
    I think that speaks volumes about the onset of Fascism - even the smaller sharks fear the bigger ones - they know once all the little fish have gone they will be next.

  • Comment number 49.

    ...and I know you all love a banking story - so I don't want to disappoint you.

    Check out the 'responsible lending' banks were into before the crisis.
    http://www.guardian.co.uk/world/2011/jan/18/irish-couple-800m-debt-odonnell

    So just remember - when the economy collapses again - we all know who's fault it was. Clearly the banks were not paying any attention to whom they were lending - and more importantly their current financial situation.

    The coalition can defend the banks all they like - you can't hide from the truth. Unlike Bob Diamonds claim, I firmly believe the time for retribution hasn't even started yet!

  • Comment number 50.

    Personally I'll be gutted if HMV vanish from the high street. I spend most of my spare cash on music and although HMV are one of the giant monopolies I despise they are the only real high street specialist. As Jack Owen surmised "if you're part of the game you have to play it until you can change it."

  • Comment number 51.

    35. At 23:08pm on 18th Jan 2011, Realmquest wrote:
    What I find extremely funny nowadays is the supermarkets with their self service checkouts...they are getting you to do the work of cashier and also getting you to think "Thank God I didn't have to wait in the queues!"...meanwhile they put one person in charge of SIX self service checkouts and hey the bottom line improves considerably...
    -----------------------------------------------------

    These terminals should be called non service checkouts.

    I will not use them. They are an insult to both the store employees and customers. I had a long chat about this with some checkout staff in my local supermarket yesterday and they agreed. Less employment, less service and more queues as the non service checkouts are only suitable for small volume purchases anyway.

    We should all boycott them.

    Who will they sell to when everything is automated and there are very few jobs?

  • Comment number 52.

    Credit insurers will only insure a risk if in their eyes it will not go bad, which seems to defeat the point of taking out credit insurance in the first place. Why should you pay 3% or whatever margin they are taking to cover a seemingly good debt, afterall most of the information that credit insurers base their decisions on is fairly cheaply available.

    From experience the decisions made by credit insurers are not always sound ones, if you were to rely on the opinions of credit insurers then many businesses would fail immediately, both in terms of the selling company and the company being purchased from.

    But, if HMV has lost credibility in the market place and is in threat of breach of it's bank covenants, which could potentially be very serious, but probably only lead to some sort of refinancing would you effectively lend millions to them as an unsecured creditor?

  • Comment number 53.

    51. At 09:40am on 19th Jan 2011, Kit Green wrote:
    35. At 23:08pm on 18th Jan 2011, Realmquest wrote:
    What I find extremely funny nowadays is the supermarkets with their self service checkouts...they are getting you to do the work of cashier and also getting you to think "Thank God I didn't have to wait in the queues!"...meanwhile they put one person in charge of SIX self service checkouts and hey the bottom line improves considerably...
    -----------------------------------------------------

    These terminals should be called non service checkouts.

    I will not use them. They are an insult to both the store employees and customers. I had a long chat about this with some checkout staff in my local supermarket yesterday and they agreed. Less employment, less service and more queues as the non service checkouts are only suitable for small volume purchases anyway.

    We should all boycott them.

    Who will they sell to when everything is automated and there are very few jobs?

    ---------------------------------------------------------------------------------

    Ragged Trousered Philanthropists all over again.

  • Comment number 54.

    A few here have touched on the point and I tend to agree - the problem is they still have a big high street presence. Councils, and shopping centres, have pushed rates up and restricted, in many cases, the amount of time that people spend on the high street by pushing parking charges sky high. The latter seriously affects passing trade, the former seriously affects prices.

    I had the same experience when I had a small shop. Initially things went ok, but then the council, without consultation with any local businesses, made large swathes pedestrian only and also tripled car park charges whilst getting the yellow line paint out with a vengeance. Result - I closed down the shop as there was no longer anywhere for customers to park within a decent distance and no passing trade - quite a needy thing when you are a motorcycle related shop!!!

  • Comment number 55.

    #51. Kit Green précis: hates self service checkouts

    I love them! No need to stand crammed next to fellow shoppers in a queue with all of the breathing down each other's necks and exchanging viruses. The self-checkouts are quick and you know that the items you have selected and paying for are correctly described and at the price you expect. But there again I like new gadgets. If anything goes wrong the supervising staff member is (normally) quickly on the scene and fixes it for you. I mainly love the speed and convenience.

    And I also disagree with you about the lack of sales staff that these machines create - in my experience there is more staff contact at automated self-checkouts than when the old-fashioned cashier has to do everything for you and you just stand there and wait.

    There is one place I do not use them is at the petrol station. This is mainly due to a bad experience in France a number of years ago when the machine did not return my card and I had to fetch a staff member and explain what had happened - the staff member was not a first (or even second!) language French speaker and lapsed into what I think was Arabic (which I do not speak) from time to time. The process took about an hour. I keep thinking that this will happen again every time I fill up in the UK (not the French bit you understand which would be OK from my point of view) I just fear something going wrong.

  • Comment number 56.

    Selling music in physical formats is a dead business model. I have a large music collection built up over 20 years, including 100's of CDs and even some vinyl, but I rarely pay for my music any more - only when a band I really like releases an album will I actually pay for the CD, just to ensure I have the music in the highest possible quality and for any booklets or DVDs that are included. Otherwise, a bog standard album I will acquire for free - I understand that "the kids" these days don't even bother with full albums, they just download individual tracks. So until the technology exists to prevent the copying and digital distribution of music for free, or until the record companies start including, as standard, more than just the music with a CD then we can expect to see the continuing slow and painful death of the physical record store.

    However, live music is where it's at, simply because it's something which cannot be pirated, for obvious reasons. I spend vastly more on attending gigs than I do, or have ever done, on physical music. And that makes me feel less guilty about not paying for the albums - if I spend between £15 and £50 attending a gig I don't lose sleep over downloading a £6.99 album for free.

    And HMV are not stupid. They've been moving into the lvie music area and have acquired a number of live venues - the Kentish Town Forum and the Hammersmith Apollo in London to name just two. When a favourite band of mine recently released a new album, HMV promoted a one-off gig in London and offered the CD and gig ticket as a package. That is the way the business needs to go.

  • Comment number 57.

    This comment was removed because the moderators found it broke the house rules. Explain.

  • Comment number 58.

    So an (un-named) insurance company is going to collapse HMV, making how many decent people redundant?

    What a great system this is.


    (I see unemployment is up again. The world is in upturn as they come out of the worst recession since the great depression. At the same time the disunited kingdom has rising umployment, declining growth etc etc. What a great job the tories are doing for us.)

  • Comment number 59.

    WOTW wrote "What is interesting about this story (which I think Robert said on the radio yesterday) was that the suppliers are going to continue supplying without the insurance - simply because they fear the monopoly and bargaining pressure of the supermarkets.
    I think that speaks volumes about the onset of Fascism - even the smaller sharks fear the bigger ones - they know once all the little fish have gone they will be next."

    Interesting concept, all businesses are sharks. Does that apply to the man running the corner shop where I buy my paper, if he a small shark? He is definitely a business and aspires to running a series of them (he wants his kids to run the next one when they are old enough), will he then be a bigger shark? Shame I always liked him

  • Comment number 60.

    51. At 09:40am on 19th Jan 2011, Kit Green wrote:
    35. At 23:08pm on 18th Jan 2011, Realmquest wrote:
    What I find extremely funny nowadays is the supermarkets with their self service checkouts...they are getting you to do the work of cashier and also getting you to think "Thank God I didn't have to wait in the queues!"...meanwhile they put one person in charge of SIX self service checkouts and hey the bottom line improves considerably...
    -----------------------------------------------------

    These terminals should be called non service checkouts.

    I will not use them. They are an insult to both the store employees and customers. I had a long chat about this with some checkout staff in my local supermarket yesterday and they agreed. Less employment, less service and more queues as the non service checkouts are only suitable for small volume purchases anyway.

    We should all boycott them.

    Who will they sell to when everything is automated and there are very few jobs?

    ---------------------------------------------------------------------------------

    Yeah maybe it would be better if the supermarkets just employed 10 people on each checkout so that they could scan 10 items for you at a time and there would be loads of jobs for everyone.

    Maybe they should get rid of delivery vans aswell - what a waste of job opportunities they are. They should just employ loads of people to carry the food around instead.

  • Comment number 61.

    #11. At 19:00pm on 18th Jan 2011, Government Channel wrote:

    Surely their business is booming or have I misunderstood the remuneration figures in their annual report?

    Executive Directors
    Simon Fox 2010 £874,000 2009 £579,000 +51%
    Neil Bright 2010 £559,000 2009 £349,000 +60%
    Gerry Johnson 2010 £494,000 2009 £312,000 +58%
    Non-Executive Director
    Robert Swannell 2010 £200,000 2009 £50,000 +300%
    ===========================================

    This is common practice.

    Top exec's always do this when a biz is failing. The thinking is that the money is better off in their pockets than the pockets of the creditors when bankruptcy is filed for.

  • Comment number 62.

    "The entertainment and music companies I spoke to were horrified by the idea that HMV might go out of business, because they do not want to become dependent on sales over the internet or through supermarkets."

    Robert - I already quoted you on that in the last blog!! Whadda team....

    Never mind, we're all doomed anyway - and here's yet another good reason why....

    http://www.moneymarketing.co.uk/protection/less-than-1-in-10-families-have-adequate-financial-protection/1024757.article

    Aren't these 'consumers' supposed to be pulling this consumption based economy out of recession? - not really prepared for any shocks really are we?

  • Comment number 63.

    #55. At 10:02am on 19th Jan 2011, John_from_Hendon wrote:
    #51. Kit Green précis: hates self service checkouts

    I love them!
    ------------------------------------------------------------------------------

    Everyone will be using self service soon utilising the "Grab it, leg it" system.

    As an aside my wife works in ASDA (yeah, yeah I know) and she tells me some cracking stories about how the street wise customer rips the self service checkouts off. The store loses £Thousands every week through these tills. I'm not going to tell you how obviously but it is very clever and very simple.

  • Comment number 64.

    #60 I have to admit that I am not a big fan of the automated check outs for the simple reason they keep going wrong but our local supermarket has enough people on hand to sort the problem so it is more of an irritant than a big issue.

    However, the worst have to be the B&Q automated checkouts. Go wrong more than any others and very few staff around

  • Comment number 65.

    HMV can't categorize music correctly and they all the computer game disks out of the box and sell them scratched

    What is World Music and What is not World Music?

    bud powell - one of those things, the last time i saw paris
    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=0OSv-oVKLqY

    ( And the little wabbit went down the hole )

    ==================================================
    Bankers will still get bonuses because they were supposed to cause the financial crisis to bring the New World Order and One World Currency which will be implemented in your local community very shortly.

  • Comment number 66.

    51.
    I expect you boycott ATM's and insist on only withdrawing cash by entering the bank and dealing with a cashier?

  • Comment number 67.

    Ah, the classic tendency for capitalism to over accumulate, and firms like Tesco using their, almost monopoly position to squeeze out the competition so that they become the only player in town. Ultimately, once they have achieved a monopoly position they can squeeze the suppliers whilst setting whatever price they want because there is no longer any competition. Capitalism; it’s a perpetual battle to keep it in check from reaching its unsustainable goal ie a few own everything. I have discovered that two of my neighbours have been made redundant before Christmas, and that the increase in my shopping bill due to inflation, is now £100 a month more than the same time last year. What recovery? The end of acquisitor age grows nearer, as the middle classes start to retreat towards subsistence levels.

  • Comment number 68.

    1. At 17:24pm on 18th Jan 2011, i wrote:

    "I won't miss it. Thats capitalism for ya."

    What the creation of a monopolistic cartel amongst the supermarkets? - I'd say that's the bad result of capitalism, not the selling point of it!

    You only have to look at the decimation of the farming industry - the forced move towards factory farming (in order to reduce costs) and the over-farming and destruction of the environment to see how damaging the 'efficiency of supermarket buying power' can be.

    Your cost reduction is taken from somewhere else - not from thin air and invisible 'efficiency savings' - usually this means the environment as it makes least noise when you screw it over......well that was the case, but maybe soon it's going to make more noise than everyone else in history combined.

    In the case of music sales - well it will be the artists, especially the non-mainstream ones who will suffer as the barriers to entry will inevitably rise as record labels concentrate on the mainstream in order to 'guarantee' a return from their diminishing returns.

    A world where all the music is sourced from the pop charts - what a sad and square world that's going to be.

  • Comment number 69.

    60. At 10:27am on 19th Jan 2011, electricmriain wrote:

    "Yeah maybe it would be better if the supermarkets just employed 10 people on each checkout so that they could scan 10 items for you at a time and there would be loads of jobs for everyone."

    ...another classic efficiency of capitalism - and it's unintended consequences.

    Clearly you have never tried to buy alchohol with one of these tills - because you can't, so a person needs to authorise the sale anyway.....and best of all these machines are a crooks favourite - but the supermarkets haven't worked this out yet.

    "Maybe they should get rid of delivery vans aswell - what a waste of job opportunities they are. They should just employ loads of people to carry the food around instead."

    Well it would be better for the environment - I mean don't you think some of the delivery profit is as a result of not paying the environment it's full compensation for it's contribution?

    ....or did you think that it doesn't matter? I mean we need money and profit - what does the environment (or us for that matter) need clean air for?

    I would have delivery by bike - you can have a trailer, it costs less and it's more environmentally friendly.

    Once again the capitalist shows his total lack of understanding between 'value' and 'cost' - which is why we're flying in tomatoes from Spain which could just as easily be grown here.

    Short termism - it's the way of the capitalist. That's why they are always 'surprised'

  • Comment number 70.

    ref: davidbrent's comments - shame on you for "acquiring" music for free. Live performance IS the future for music, but have you never heard of bootleggers. Security at most concerts is very hot on no recording equipment in the hall. Many concerts can appear on the internet before the fans have gone home, whether from legitimate sources or the pirates you favour.

  • Comment number 71.

    i,
    HMV are as competitive as they can possibly be. If you go into any HMV look at the DVD chart wall, from what you seem to think HMV are making massive profits on all if it. Well you are wrong. Any major films that are priced under £14.99, HMV is almost certainly making a loss on. When the biggest film of all time, Avatar came out on DVD and HMV were selling it at £14.99 per unit, you'd think thats a bit much. Well the supplier were selling it to HMV at around £17.50 per unit, so no wonder HMV are struggling.
    The supermarkets are competitive, only because they can afford to make a massive loss on CDs, DVDs and Games. Amazon, play.com and even HMV's own website can offer lower prices as they are based in the Channel Islands so the products are tax free. HMV are doing the best they can do when it comes to price, honestly.
    ______________________________________________________________________

    True to an extent but online retailers can offer educed costs as they don't have any physical storage costs. Each DVD unit in a physical store carries business running costs that don't apply to Amazon etc. You order, then Amazon order, you recieve on behalf of Amazon. No additional costs other than server space which is much cheaper than shelf space. If no - one buys, your losses are minimal and if loads buy, your gains are maximised.

    Online retailers also aren't stuck trying to meet high demand. E - Bay and Amazon both make substantial profits from selling long tail items.

    Just a couple of examples of how online retail can be much more competitve in terms of price etc.

    Along with HMV, see also Blockbuster.

  • Comment number 72.

    62. At 11:59am on 19th Jan 2011, writingsonthewall wrote:
    "Never mind, we're all doomed anyway - and here's yet another good reason why....

    http://www.moneymarketing.co.uk/protection/less-than-1-in-10-families-have-adequate-financial-protection/1024757.article"

    Ok, reading that article, rather than the link address, this is an insurance company doing research that shows more people should by their products:

    "Aviva says 61 per cent of families do not have basic life insurance, 87 per cent of people do not have critical illness cover and 89 per cent do not have income protection."

    where they are saying that all of these are essential. Are they? Or is it a choice that consumers are free to make?

    SO it is a sign of nothing

  • Comment number 73.

    http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/world-africa-12223043
    ................
    Well, well, well. Who says that no one listens to bloggers or their views carry no wait. Is this an example of the internet helping to level the playing field?

  • Comment number 74.

    69. At 12:16pm on 19th Jan 2011, writingsonthewall wrote:

    I would have delivery by bike - you can have a trailer, it costs less and it's more environmentally friendly.

    --------------------------------------------------------------------------

    Clearly you have no real idea about how much a delivery lorry carries and how difficult cycling with any sort of heavy load is. another wacky WOTW comment.

    but please please do continue to post on this blog as its really the most fun i have during my day at work, i mean where else would i get to read deranged comments about revolution and such like.

  • Comment number 75.

    How many jobs lost? Certainly found this store quite expensive, perhaps truth in the artificial prices but I gurantee you the managment had quite real salaries and shareholders with divvies to make ones eyes water!

    No wonder piracy is alive & kicking, there are many forms of greed from legal and illegal means.....................

  • Comment number 76.

    In today's world any loss from the high street to supermarkets should be mourned.
    Especially if it's the last chain of it's type. Supermarkets stock the top 40, if you fancy something slightly off beat, or vintage, you've had it.

    Still it's cheaper than the high street, so that's alright then.

  • Comment number 77.

    #68. At 12:08pm on 19th Jan 2011, writingsonthewall wrote:

    In the case of music sales - well it will be the artists, especially the non-mainstream ones who will suffer as the barriers to entry will inevitably rise as record labels concentrate on the mainstream in order to 'guarantee' a return from their diminishing returns.

    ---------------------------------------------------------------------------------

    This is what concerns me. I don't listen to mainstream music, I think I'm commonly known as a Metalhead, so the idea of only pop-pap being available in abundance is worrying whereas HMV do at least cater for musical diversity although not in volume. Besides, would anyone dare not sell Motorhead tunes, Lord Lemmy of Kilminster would be Screaming for Vengeance (sorry - Judas Priest pun in there as well).

  • Comment number 78.

    I'm not sure about who the mystery credit insurers are, but probably, the chain goes like this:

    1)Record company (big) controls initial selling price. Strict credit terms. High gross profit.
    2)Distributor (medium) ships out on credit to shops. Probably uses bank factoring service ( = credit insurers). ~ 10% gross profit.
    3)Shops ( medium), cash sales, runs 90 day credit ~10% gross profit.

    So the mystery credit insurers, are probably the credit factoring arm of our well beloved high street banks ( advance credit against orders, take money when customers pay + commission for advancing credit).

    I suspect the distributors are worried, becuase if the medium shops go, then there's only the large supermarkets as customers, and they will happily bankcrupt a smaller supplier if they can wranggle another 1p of profit from them in the short term...

  • Comment number 79.

    74. At 12:28pm on 19th Jan 2011, avalanche_invesmtents wrote: but please please do continue to post on this blog as its really the most fun i have during my day at work, i mean where else would i get to read deranged comments about revolution and such like.
    ...................
    Deranged from your perspective, but from my perspective your comments look delusional.

  • Comment number 80.

    RE 26
    The new delivery methods are great IF you have decent broadband speeds - I live 10 miles from centre of Manchester so hardly in middle of nowhere but we struggle to get 1Mb/s speeds. Colleagues in Stockholm get 60 Mb/s as comparison. Until we get the infrastructure upgrade with fibre optic cable my films are going to have to come in DVD format. Not fussed about HMV though - they arent present in my local shopping centre and I find the shopping experience in their stores poor in recent times when I have ventured in.

  • Comment number 81.

    74. At 12:28pm on 19th Jan 2011, avalanche_invesmtents wrote:

    "Clearly you have no real idea about how much a delivery lorry carries and how difficult cycling with any sort of heavy load is. another wacky WOTW comment."

    Clearly you don't get out much - because there are already several companies in my area who deliver by bike....and I have ridden one of these bikes - and there is very little difference with the load.
    I mean I don't know how much food you're eating, but it can't be that much - maybe you should cut down.

    "but please please do continue to post on this blog as its really the most fun i have during my day at work, i mean where else would i get to read deranged comments about revolution and such like."

    ...from the man who denies these even exist!

    http://bikehugger.com/images/blog/metroped_boston.jpg

    ...or this...

    http://pacificpedaling.com/wp-content/uploads/2008/11/upsbike.jpg

    ...or these....

    http://cargocycling.org/wp-content/uploads/2009/08/picture-1.png
    http://cargocycling.org/wp-content/uploads/2009/06/dhl_cargocycle.jpg

    typical capitalist thinking - if you don't like the idea (or you think it's going to hit profits) then you simply deny it's existence.

    Take a trip to Holland and you can see how nearly everything is delivered by bike (oh but wait, they don't have hills - so that's different)

    Sometimes I am shocked by the inadequacy of some people who join this blog with their 'clever comments' which turn out to be anything but...

  • Comment number 82.

    74. At 12:28pm on 19th Jan 2011, avalanche_invesmtents

    ...just out of interest - are you called avalanche investments because that's what they're doing now?

  • Comment number 83.

    Seems that the marxist financial apocolypse theories are appearing again.

    Point:

    The political manifestation of marxism has been presented to the electorate time and time again in various formats in the UK and has been routinely rejected.

    Isn't trying to force a political and economic system on the electorate that has been refused by the electorate against the concept of democracy and therefore places the desire for a marxist revolution (paradoxically - considering the ideological conception) as an enemy of freedom?

    Discuss.

    Re HMV,

    Bottom line is: next time you need a book, CD etc. where are you going to go? HMV or Amazon from your home without hiking about in the rain?

    if it's the latter, bye, bye HMV.

  • Comment number 84.

    2. At 17:30pm on 18th Jan 2011, prudeboy

    That's excellent - but I wouldn't like to comet on the matter.

  • Comment number 85.

    If HMV disappear I will really miss them. A trip to a town centre, have a coffee and general mooch is not complete without a trip to HMV and the rummage through racks of music going back many years and many genres. I think if HMV goes the only presence onthe high street will be people who don't like music, but wish to profit from it. Obviously HMV wants to make money, but underlyingly you feel they really love music. This is an example of how the internet is taking the heart out of music, but underlyingly it is the consumer who decides.

  • Comment number 86.

    RE 77
    I agree, my tastes are perhaps wider but less developed but I've found getting some albums I would like in CD rather than LP from Amazon impossible (we're talking 80's/90's music here, not 50's/60's so CD should be available). A specialist supplier might have an odd copy but I wonder where we will get it in future - I forsee small specialist suppliers who will hold a master and will run off a licensed copies or downloads (do these exist already?). A bit sad really as the whole Nick Hornby 'Hi Fidelity' music shop experience is lost as well as the opportunity to talk to someone who might really know their music. You can use web forums to discuss music but after you've been flamed by an anonymous know-nothing a few times you lose interest.
    Will Tesco's carry a copy of Southside Johnny and the Asbury Jukes "At Least we got Shoes"? Somehow I doubt it...

  • Comment number 87.

    72. At 12:27pm on 19th Jan 2011, yam yzf wrote:
    62. At 11:59am on 19th Jan 2011, writingsonthewall wrote:
    "Never mind, we're all doomed anyway - and here's yet another good reason why....

    http://www.moneymarketing.co.uk/protection/less-than-1-in-10-families-have-adequate-financial-protection/1024757.article"

    Ok, reading that article, rather than the link address, this is an insurance company doing research that shows more people should by their products:

    "Aviva says 61 per cent of families do not have basic life insurance, 87 per cent of people do not have critical illness cover and 89 per cent do not have income protection."

    where they are saying that all of these are essential. Are they? Or is it a choice that consumers are free to make?

    SO it is a sign of nothing

    ---------------------------------------------------------------------------------

    Actually I'd say this bit says quite a lot and is clearly a sign of something:

    "When asked why they do not have protection insurance, 19 per cent say they think it is too expensive and 5 per cent believe it never pays out and is not worth buying.
    The report also found families prioritise paying off unsecured debts and setting up savings accounts ahead of getting financial protection.

    When asked what they would prioritise if they received a £10,000 windfall, 44 per cent of respondents told Aviva they would first pay off unsecured debts. Only 5 per cent said the money would make them want to take out protection."



  • Comment number 88.

    Technological changes will probably bring about the demise of the likes of HMV. Is this a bad thing? Well yes and no. Of course it's unpleasant to see a well known business go under with the resulting loss of jobs. However I see two key benefits; Firstly low cost music. Secondly as musicians will not be able to rely on the income from huge record sales this will bring about a resurgence in live musical performance. The record companies and the bands won’t be making as much cash but come on is this really what music is all about anyway? I always felt that the cost of music was too high (I remember once paying £18 for a double CD that I wanted!) Music should be by the people for the people. Cutting out the middle men won’t curtail musical creativity which is all that counts in the end.

  • Comment number 89.

    6. At 18:12pm on 18th Jan 2011, Ian wrote:

    "Too true! And do you remember those CDs that were to be scratch-proof?"

    Ah yes Ian - that was the LIE you were sold in the 80's around 'choice' - the same LIE was used under the guise of choice with the deregulation of the comms market and the selling off of TV rights.

    Now you have LESS CHOICE - unless of course you're loaded - but unfortunately even those of us who think we're loaded are going to find that's not the case once we've had a year or two of high inflation.

    ...still that won't be happening Ian, it wasn't on the TV this morning so it can't be true.

    I wonder how the socialist revolution in Tunisia is coming along - I heard they had a new democratic Government - it didn't last a day.

    Apparently they are complaining about food prices - which of course is an unfortunate and UNFORSEEN consequence of creating a fantasy financial world with low interest rates in order to save Capitalism.

    So for Capitalism to survive - the world must go hungry - is this the 'best system we can muster' Ian?

    What's the difference between the thousands that will die because of commodity prices (caused by the crisis of capitalism) and the thousands that died in the Great leap forward?

    What a shame you can only see one type of tyranny and one type of death - I guess it's essential in order to support capitalism with a clear conscience.

  • Comment number 90.

    81. At 12:50pm on 19th Jan 2011, writingsonthewall wrote:
    WOTW; I am no longer frustrated by the apologists/droids etc, after reading Ravi’s book, because it is clear they form part of the ‘acquisitors’ with the associated values, whereas we form part of the ‘intellectuals’. You will never convince the ‘acquisitors’ to change their views and in that respect your posts are wasted on them. However, there are a lot of sub-consciously sycophantic ‘intellectuals’ with different values that will see the reasoning in your posts. Given that the warrior class cannot rule without the support of the ‘intellectuals’, that gives extra importance to the postings. There is little that the ‘acquisitors’ can do to prevent social change happening, their only option is to not resist and allow the transition to be smoother. This post of course will make little sense to those that have not read the book, but I know you will understand it.

  • Comment number 91.

    Insurance will be the downfall of the West

  • Comment number 92.

    #73 averagejoe.

    By the way if you think whats going on in Tunisia is bad, just wait until it kicks off in Egypt! Watch this space?
    WOTW's revolution is spreading, yes.

  • Comment number 93.

    83. At 12:53pm on 19th Jan 2011, Jack_Dwakins wrote:

    "The political manifestation of marxism has been presented to the electorate time and time again in various formats in the UK and has been routinely rejected."

    Only reformists believe politics will bring change - and it clearly hasn't, so your comments are wasted on half the marxist population. As for these 'presentations' - when were they and where?
    Sure if the options are:
    1) Hard reforms, total change in ideals and values and massive disruption while we re-organise society more fairly
    ...and
    2) Do nothing, we'll handle it all, we'll make you rich and give you more freedom - and for less taxes too!

    ...which choice do you think people will make (or rather made) - and how do you think this 'choice' contributed to the mess we're in today. The Marxists offered a fairer society - with pain to get there - the neo liberals offer all you want and more - for absolutely no cost.

    ...and here we are - the costs are coming home to roost.

    "Isn't trying to force a political and economic system on the electorate that has been refused by the electorate against the concept of democracy and therefore places the desire for a marxist revolution (paradoxically - considering the ideological conception) as an enemy of freedom?"

    Who's forcing anything? Marx said capitalism will collapse - and before it does it will create havoc and divide mankind (as it has done). The democratic part comes from the dictatorship of the proletariate - the class in the vast majority taking ownership of what they produce (and how they produce it) - the soviets in Petrograd were the most democratic bodies we've prbably seen in history.

    So please, make sure you're talking about Marxism and not Stalinism when you try to undermine something.
    Marx was right about one thing - capitalism is full of contradictions - which is why the supporters of it find themselves with contradictory arguments.

    "Bottom line is: next time you need a book, CD etc. where are you going to go? HMV or Amazon from your home without hiking about in the rain?"

    ...and that shortsightedness will cost people eventually - I mean Amazon won't seem like such good value when the royal mail is sold and the cost of postage goes through the roof to pay for the holidays of the new CEO's!

  • Comment number 94.

    83. At 12:53pm on 19th Jan 2011, Jack_Dwakins wrote:
    Seems that the marxist financial apocolypse theories are appearing again.
    ………….
    The usual story. Rather than face up to facts just compartmentalise what you don’t like. The only references I see to Marx, are to demonstrate the well known contradictions of capitalism. Just take a look around you, does the current situation appear to be ‘normal’ in your capitalist world? Looks to me like we are in a crisis, just like they were in the 1930s.

  • Comment number 95.

    86. At 13:00pm on 19th Jan 2011, SpannermanPete wrote:

    "Will Tesco's carry a copy of Southside Johnny and the Asbury Jukes "At Least we got Shoes"? Somehow I doubt it... "

    Good point, maybe I should nip to HMV on the way home and upgrade all my Southside LPs to CD before it is too late :-)

    In fact, if I upgraded all my LPS, reckon that might keep them in business for a while longer. The singles, however, are unlikely to be there

  • Comment number 96.

    "The report also found families prioritise paying off unsecured debts and setting up savings accounts ahead of getting financial protection.
    -----------------------------------------------------------------------------

    If you don't have debts you don.t need to insure against not having the income to pay them. (self insurance).

  • Comment number 97.

    72. At 12:27pm on 19th Jan 2011, yam yzf wrote:

    "Aviva says 61 per cent of families do not have basic life insurance, 87 per cent of people do not have critical illness cover and 89 per cent do not have income protection.

    where they are saying that all of these are essential. Are they? Or is it a choice that consumers are free to make?"

    Well life insurance is pretty important - unless of course you plan to leave all your debts to your children / wife - a great legacy.

    "SO it is a sign of nothing"

    I'll agree payment protection isn't worth the paper it's written on (but that didn't stop them selling it anyway)

    Maybe you need to see the same report in a different way...

    http://www.uswitch.com/news/money/brits-concerned-about-finances-says-research-800350972/

    "Aviva's Family Finances Report shows that almost 40% of families say they are unable to take on any extra financial obligations as they are stretched already.

    One-third of families have no savings, and 40% don't put away anything each month.

    And in terms of debt, the average credit card, loan or overdraft debt is £5,360"

    Is that clear enough for you? one third of people cannot take on any further financial commitments and the average debt is £5,000ish.

  • Comment number 98.

    #69 the point is that you can't expect companies to employ more people than they have to because then they go bankrupt as they can't compete and thus everyone at said company loses their job. I'm not entering into a debate about the environment - the delivery lorry example was just that, an example. I'm well in favour of balancing efficiency with greener solutions and everyone will have to get used to a future without oil and its benefits at some stage anyway.

    I suppose you'd be the kind of person that thinks labour creating non-jobs to get people of the unemployment list is a good thing?

  • Comment number 99.

    11. At 19:00pm on 18th Jan 2011, Government Channel

    "That's capitalism for ya!"

    (you fail, you fail again and then you award yourself a pay rise!)

  • Comment number 100.

    • 92. At 13:13pm on 19th Jan 2011, creditunionhero wrote:
    #73 averagejoe.

    By the way if you think whats going on in Tunisia is bad, just wait until it kicks off in Egypt! Watch this space?
    WOTW's revolution is spreading, yes.
    …………………
    Indeed the clock is ticking. If you have not read Ravi Batra’s book I would urge you to do so. What’s happening now makes a lot more sense. It will get here eventually, helped by inflation, increasing interest rates or both. History is once again repeating itself. The difference this time is the education levels are a lot higher than the 1930s. My gut feeling is that difference will cause the process to be faster.

 

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