HMV: Pre-owned sales the "final piece of the jigsaw"
Second-hand initiative will convince industry and core gamers that HMV is a serious force in games retail, says Re/Play manager
HMV has told GamesIndustry.biz that its entry into the second-hand game sales market will convince hardcore gamers and the industry itself that the chain is a serious contender in videogames retail.
Speaking following yesterday's announcement, HMV's Martin Baxter said the launch of Re/Play this Friday will put it on a par with rivals such as GAME and Gamestation.
"We have thought of ourselves as a games specialist for a while now - ask any of our staff, and that's what they'll tell you, but we recognise that some core gamers, and also people within our business, may not always have shared that view," he said.
"Hopefully that's set to change now, and we certainly feel that this move is like a final piece of the jigsaw, and that it will bring us into line with our direct competitors."
Baxter said that HMV is aware that pre-owned sales are a contentious issue amongst some publishers and developers, but the company hopes an increase in footfall will lead to more interest in new releases as well as cheaper second-hand titles.
"Our supplier partners have been aware of our plans for some time," he detailed. "I appreciate PPG has attracted mixed views in the past, but our key competitors have been doing this for a while now, so it was time for us, really.
"We feel this offer enhances our value proposition to our customers - increasing the range of product options and offers available to them in our stores. Hopefully, this, in turn, will increase the number of visits to our stores and thus generate increased interest in new release titles. So, hopefully, publishers and distributors will share our view that this is a positive development for the industry."
The Re/Play initiative kicks off this Friday, with HMV planning a major national press campaign, along with ads in consumer and specialist magazines. Pricing of pre-owned games will be decided at head office level, and Baxter has said HMV will offer value but without price-matching offers from other specialist retailers.
"It's based on what our head office games buyers consider to be a commercially viable price that's reasonable and fair to supplier and buyer alike.
"Obviously, we look to make all our pricing - whether it's for a CD, DVD or a traded-in game, to be as market competitive as possible, but we will focus on what we feel is right for our customer offer rather than simply following what any of our competitors may be doing," said Baxter.
HMV won't be nudging out new releases to make way for second hand products either, instead it intends to consolidate store space by reducing duplication in other areas such as music.
"Basically we're managing to find a bit more space for our games departments," said Baxter. "We found that traditionally within some of our other product categories, such as music, there has been a degree of title duplication.
"So we've been able to take some of this space in order to create a bit room for new products that are growing within our business, such as games and technology, without fundamentally compromising our music offer."
When asked, Baxter was coy on exactly what percentage of game sales between now and Christmas would be of pre-owned stock, claiming the retailer had not made any projections.
"At the moment we're just looking to launch HMV Re/Play, so it's not something that we've thought too much about, but, obviously, we would expect its share to grow over time," he said.