Convenience Chain Buys HMV Japan

Japanese convenience store chain Lawson has decided to buy the troubled music retailer HMV Japan from Daiwa Securities for 1.8 billion yen ($22 million).

Once one of the largest CD chains in Japan, HMV closed its flagship Japan outlet in September after Daiwa failed to sell the company to Culture Convenience Club, which operates DVD and CD rental shops in Japan.

According to the Nikkei financial daily, Lawson’s purpose in buying HMV is to “tap into the retailer’s online sales expertise” with younger consumers.

HMV has some 4.7 million online members, and makes about half its annual 30 billion yen in revenue from Internet sales.
Lawson already operates its own closed cable radio station that’s piped into all its outlets.

The chain also sells concert tickets and sponsors pop music tours through its subsidiary Lawson Entermedia Inc. Convenience stores have become one of the main outlets in Japan for ticket sales in recent years.

Nikkei projects that Lawson will not close any of HMV’s remaining stores but will likely convert some of them to music-themed cafes that sell Lawson products.