Finally, here’s some good news for physical music sales.
According to the latest Official Charts Company data, sales for the past week were back to pre-Covid 19 levels.
Record shops were allowed to reopen under strict safety guidelines from June 15. HMV returned with a new personal shopper system.
The Love Record Stores event (June 20) is set to deliver a further boost for the following week.
ERA reported strong trading following the reopening. While it wasn’t the busiest week for releases, Liam Gallagher’s No.1 MTV Unplugged album (17,938 physical sales) and the reissue of Manic Street Preachers’ Gold Against The Soul (2,838 physical sales) were among titles to drive footfall. Lady Gaga’s Chromatica racked up 7,107 physical sales last week. Of course, a big chunk of those sales – particularly for Gallagher and Gaga – were D2C pre-orders.
But there is no doubt that record shops have had an impact on the market since reopening. Physical sales increased by 14.55% to 345,443 units for the week – the biggest tally for 14 weeks. Vinyl sales surged by 27.57% week-on-week (88,486 units), while even CD was up 11.09% (253,779 units).
Physical sales represented 19.1% of the overall albums market for the past week, a three-month high.
HMV and Fopp reported brisk trade after the reopening of 93 stores.
We expect to see consumer confidence continue to grow
Patrizia Leighton, HMV marketing and e-commerce director, said: “We have been delighted with initial sales at our stores in England and Northern Ireland on reopening, which are in line with our expectations. The most important thing for us was opening our stores in a way that is safe for our loyal customers and amazing staff, while still preserving the thrill of browsing for music and film.
“We have seen a steady stream of customers since Monday, and as each day goes by and even more shops around the country begin to open, we expect to see consumer confidence continue to grow. Our staff have been brilliant throughout, and we are looking forward to our Welsh and Scottish stores reopening pending Government guidance.”
(Updated: Wales has allowed retail to reopen on June 22 - HMV stores in Cardiff, Swansea and Cwmbran are back.)
Although the sector is back to pre-Covid levels, it remains to be seen if shoppers will continue to put up with the social distancing restrictions in those record shops that have opted to return. Many indie retailers have grown their business online.
And while the week-on-week growth in sales is strong, the year-on-year comparison remains alarming. Physical sales in the last week were down 43% compared to the same chart week in 2019.
Subscribers can read our report on the return of retail here.
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