Fopp (retailer)

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Type Subsidiary
Founded Glasgow (1981)
Headquarters Glasgow, Scotland, UK
Number of locations 50 stores (1981-2007), 9 stores (2007-)
Key people Gordon Montgomery, Founder (no longer involved)
Industry Retail
Record shop
Products CDs, vinyl records, DVDs, books, café
Parent HMV Group plc

Fopp is a chain of retail stores selling music, film, books and other entertainment products in the United Kingdom. Fopp has nine stores.[citation needed]



From its origins as a one-man stall in Glasgow, Scotland, in 1981, it expanded to a chain of over 100 branches[1] throughout the country in 2007. With the demise of Music Zone, Fopp became the third largest specialist music retailer in the UK in terms of store numbers (after HMV and Virgin Megastores). Shortly after the takeover of rival chain Music Zone, Fopp went into administration in June 2007, resulting in the closure of many of its stores. Eight stores survived and are operating under the Fopp brand as an independent part of the HMV Group.

The name "Fopp" comes from the title of a song by the Ohio Players on their 1975 album Honey.[citation needed]

A new branch opened in mid 2009 on Exeter High Street.


The first and largest Fopp store was opened in 1981 by Benajmin Brooks of Bath. Fopp operates a keep-it-simple approach to the pricing of its merchandise with most prices rounded to whole-pound figures. It built a reputation for reasonable prices on new release and non-mainstream catalogue CDs, DVDs and books. The company also had a policy called "suck it and see", whereby any purchase could be returned to the shop within 28 days for a full refund as long as it is as new. The company still has this policy, despite being owned by HMV. Many other CD/DVD retailers will not accept returned goods if security seals or plastic wrapping have been removed.[citation needed]

Instore performances

Fopp built a reputation for free in-store personal appearances from a broad selection of bands and musicians.[citation needed]

Fopp store in London


Until 2007 there were 50 Fopp stores and 37 outlets branded as Music Zone throughout England, Scotland and Wales. Fopp can be found in The Scotsman's list of the 250 Biggest Scottish Companies of 2005.[2]


Having taken over rival chain Music Zone following their fall into administration, Fopp found themselves having cash flow problems. The company cancelled book deliveries in June blaming a change in location of warehouse from Bristol to Stockport (the old Music Zone warehouse).

On 21 June 2007 the company began accepting only cash transactions, stating 'card authorisation' problems as the cause.[3]. On 22 June 2007 the company closed all branches for 'stock taking' and said it was in talks with its bank. A week later the company announced a temporary closure in all its outlets and its online venture, and staff were informed that they would not be receiving their monthly pay[1].

On 29 June 2007 they called in receivers after a last-ditch deal that would have allowed Sir Richard Branson a way to devolve himself from the loss making Virgin Megastores without the negative PR of closing down multiple locations, but this deal failed to win support from Virgin's main supplier. The stores were closed, and staff were sent home with their monthly salaries unpaid.[1]

The Fopp online webstore was taken down shortly after and replaced with the following message:


Ernst & Young were appointed as joint administrators of Fopp and Music Zone and issued a press statement detailing stores closed and the numbers of jobs lost at each location. [4]


On 1 May 2007, it was announced that HMV would take control of the Fopp brand and its stores in London Covent Garden, Cambridge, Edinburgh Rose Street (but not Cockburn Street), Manchester, Nottingham and Glasgow. On 12 May 2009, Bristol Evening Post reported that a further store would open in Bristol (in a former HMV-owned Waterstones store), a city in which three Fopp stores had traded prior to summer 2007.

On 24 May 2007, the Glasgow Union Street and Edinburgh stores reopened. The Cambridge store reopened on 25 May 2007, and the Manchester store was relaunched on the 27th. After a statement from HMV stating that they were unable to open the Covent Garden (London) branch, they finally gained the landlord's consent to take over the lease and the store reopened on the 5th July 2007. Only around 10% of the original 700 employees kept their jobs.

Nine stores are now trading with the Fopp name under HMV ownership.[5]

Rebranding and Private Purchase

It was also announced that the Leamington Spa store would be reopening as Head, a separate store from Fopp, but retaining Fopp's stock and assets [6]. The HEAD store opened on 1 November 2007 and employed some of its predecessor's former employees. The store intends to host regular performances from local bands, and hopes to allow musicians, artists and authors from Leamington and its surrounding areas to sell their work there.

On 6 December 2007 the expanding electronics and gaming chain CeX opened a store at 18 Midland Road, in Bedford, a previous Fopp store. Much of the existing Fopp shop-fitting was kept intact.

On 24 November 2007, a new independent music, film and books store named RISE (taken from a PiL song[citation needed]) opened in an old Fopp store in Beechwood Shopping Centre, Cheltenham. The store re-employed former Fopp employees. In March 2008 a branch of RISE opened in the vacated FOPP space at Warwick Arts Centre, at the University of Warwick in Coventry.[citation needed] Pandorum

A branch has now opened on Exeter High Street, replacing the old HMV shop which has now relocated to the former Virgin/Zavvi premises in the Princesshay shopping centre.


  1. 1.0 1.1 1.2 "Fopp closes down its 105 stores". BBC News. 29 June 2007. 
  2. Scotsman 250 (2005), Scotsman Online, accessed 16 September 2007
  3. Neelam Verjee & Robert Lindsay, Music chain in talks with administrators, Times Online, 28 June 2007, accessed 16 September 2007
  4. Ernst & Young Press Statement, [1]
  5. HMV starts the buy-up of Fopp, Bearded Magazine Online, 31 July 2007, accessed 16 September 2007
  6. Oliver Williams, The music is back: independent store set to take over from Fopp, Leamington Courier, 12 October 2007, accessed 23 October 2007

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