Stefan's Naturally Aspirated Blog

No New Products at HMV and Fopp Marks Further Demise of the Guy-Street

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For the uninitiated, the ’Guy-Street’ is the part of the High Street that generally appeals to male shoppers - stereotypical for sure but it mostly holds up. Around 10-20 years ago there were a myriad of shops for the average bloke to browse through while the more retail-oriented part of the family properly hit the shops. I like to use Oxford Street as a benchmark as it is relevant to this particular article. Over the years it has been home to at least 4 record stores at the same ...

Christmas Shopping 2014 - Online and In-store

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Online Christmas Shopping for 2014 has been marred by a series of failures in delivery, which has given an unexpected boon to the high street. Date-wise - it is at that time of year for me, when I no longer risk shopping online - even as an Amazon Prime Member. I’ve noted this year with Amazon Prime, that with the inclusive delivery service I am getting diminishing returns. Used to be when Prime first started, I pretty much received everything the day after I ordered, now it’s often...

Hilco downgrades HMV Flagship Store

Entertainment StoreHigh Street Music RetailHilcoHMVHMV 150 Oxford StreetHMV 363 Oxford StreetHMV FlagshipHMV Flagship StoreMusic IndustryMusic RetailNew HMVOxford Street+-

I had the misfortune today of stepping inside the new HMV Flagship Store at 363 Oxford Street.


As a long-term loyal and fairly high-spending customer of HMV since my mid-teens, I have long loved the incumbent 150 Oxford Street Flagship. I have watched the introduction of various new departments, and experienced the store evolving and changing to fit its ever-shifting retail environments. Some changes have been better than others, but the beautifully laid-out 3 floor store has always ...

UK Consumers still getting a poor deal for on-demand video

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In order to further safeguard its future, HMV has just recently launched HMV On-Demand - a video streaming / download service running on the FilmFlex Movies Platform. This service introduces further competition to iTunes and LoveFilm, and comes just ahead of the 2012 launch of American video behemoth Netflix. There are of course numerous other movie services through set-top boxes and consoles - such as Movies on the Play Station 3, but the big four are seen to be Netflix, Hulu, Amazon Instant ...

Extreme couponing for all is here to stay! Beware!

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With so many of the key Internet players now muscling in on the Groupon action - Amazon Local, Facebook Deals, Google Offers etc., it is quite evident that ’couponing’ and group buying is here to stay in a big way.

Whilst ’couponing’ has long been a way of life for many an American, it’s not really had the same immersive impact on this side of the pond.

As a brand engineer and marketeer, I’ve always supported the couponing concept for company / product ...

Support Record Store Day!

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Most will be aware that the traditional high street record store has become an endangered species. Long gone are the days when you had an HMV, Virgin, Our Price, Woolworths and WHSmith on the same high street - all selling vinyl records; nowadays only HMV remains as a proper high street music retailer and even HMV has abandoned nearly all vinyl. Off the high street though is where the real action is / was happening - the independent record stores would be found in a back alley or cul-de-sac ...

Radiohead still leading the way in independent music distribution

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Radiohead announced today that their latest album ’The King of Limbs’ is to be available for download this Saturday - 19th February across 5 territories - UK / Ireland, Europe, The Americas, S.E.Asia, and Rest of the World.


There are in fact 4 versions of the album available as you can see from the above screen-capture:

  • MP3 Download - £6 / $9
  • WAV Download - £9 / $14
  • Newspaper Artwork Physical Album + MP3 Download - £30 / $48
  • Newspaper Artwork Physical

UK's Internet Economy is worth more than £100bn and leads the world in online shopping

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A recent report ’The Connected Kingdom’ commissioned by Google and carried out by US consultancy - Boston Consulting Group, finds that the Internet contributed some £100bn or 7.2% of UK gross domestic product in 2009.

This £100bn figure is said to be a conservative estimate, and excludes business-to-business eCommerce which is a £360bn per year market alone.

Of the £100bn figure, half of this is estimated to be consumer eCommerce, £10bn is for internet ...

High Street Malaise

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This is about the fourth Saturday in a row I have gone into the West End of London and come back empty-handed. High Street shopping is seriously starting to loose its appeal for me, which is quite surprising as I really rather used to enjoy shopping. Online shopping is in danger of totally overshadowing its traditional counterpart.

That said, there are at least three areas where High Street Shopping has the advantage:

  • Sampling - the ability to experience and touch the product/s first-hand,

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