A recipe for survival

A recipe for survival

First, Gramophone called it a day.

Now, HMV will shut its flagship store in Orchard Road next month, reducing its operations to a much smaller store in Marina Square.

With online music so readily available nowadays, CD shops are finding it difficult to keep spinning.

That leaves That CD Shop as the only big chain of CD shops.

And even they have down-sized, closing two outlets earlier this year, leaving just four open.

That CD Shop has also started selling cupcakes and macarons at some of its stores since the end of last year.

Other than saying that they will "just continue to do what we are good at doing for the past 20 years, quietly, as always", the home-grown music retailer, which also founded the High Society record label in 2006, declined to comment on its F&B foray.

TNP visited the shop at lunchtime on Friday and saw some patrons walking away with CD purchases.

Branching out

Others were visibly drawn to the cupcakes, which were going at $6 each.

Retail experts say the secret to remaining in business could lie in branching out from the main business to offer other services.

The New Paper found several other businesses which offer unrelated services under the same roof - an eatery that also offers hair cuts and washes, a bicycle shop that sells ice cream and coffee and a mattress showroom within a cafe.

This trend is not born out of the "pure opportunistic behaviour of business owners," said Ms Esther Ho, Nanyang Polytechnic's manager of diploma of retail studies.

Instead, some retailers have identified the "need to engage their customers by creating a social space within their physical stores", she said.

"The key is turning this social space into an income-generating avenue for the retailers," Ms Ho explained.

She also highlighted the need to shift from product-based to lifestyle retailing.

"Retailers are not merely selling a product for its functional benefits. Retail brands have now become an expression of the customer's lifestyle, his values and identity," Ms Ho said.

But the core business must still be substantial, Mr Samuel Tan, course manager of the diploma in retail management at Temasek Polytechnic, cautioned.

Research

Adequate research and knowledge is required, he said.

"Not everyone can easily put two or three businesses together into one. If not done well, it may turn out almost like a 'chapalang' (random mix) shop.

"That will not help the business at all," he said.


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