Bottom-patting supermarket Asda could be about to step in for HMV, as WH Smith looks to fill the high street CD and DVD void left by the ailing music and movie chain.
The Telegraph reports that Asda is in talks with HMV's administrator Deloitte to take over the music, movie and game retailer. Restructuring company Hilco has already bought the chain's debt and was the bookie's favourite to take over, but Asda could swoop in for the remaining stores instead.
Asda is reportedly looking to continue selling under the HMV brand rather than simply taking over the buildings owned by HMV.
One of the deciding factors in who gets to rescue HMV is likely to be the support of record labels, film studios and other suppliers. Suppliers are said to have agreed favourable credit terms with Hilco, but are also likely to be on good terms with Asda, which also sells chart CDs, DVDs and games.
Asda could be looking to the HMV brand to rival Blinkbox, the online movie and TV show streaming and download service owned by Tesco.
Pile 'em high, sell 'em cheap
Ironically, the arrival of CDs and DVDs piled high and sold cheap in supermarkets has been one of the factors contributing to the decline in record shops-- as a great man once observed -- albeit not as much of a factor as online sales and downloads.
Stationer and newsagent WH Smith is reported to be planning a return to selling CDs and DVDs in select locations, to plug the gap left by HMV for movies and music on the high street.
Just 116 HMV stores are set to remain open, roughly half the number open before the wheels fell off. HMV had 223 shops and 4,123 staff when it spiralled into administration in January, with well over 1,000 jobs still under threat.