HMV’s new owner Doug Putman has insisted the music store chain will be profitable “by the end of the year.”

Putman rescued HMV from administration after a battle for control with Sports Direct tycoon Mike Ashley – and has immediately set his sights on returning the business to the black.

The business hasn’t made a pre-tax profit at group level for nearly a decade. In its 2010/11 financial year, it registered a pre-tax profit of £3.3m, but has been in the red ever since.

But Putman told Retail Week that revamping its online model, offering meet and greet experiences to customers, and increasing stock levels – including a focus on vinyl – will be at the heart of his turnaround strategy. 

“The first and easiest thing is getting stock out to stores because it’s been a while since the stores have got new stock,” Putman told Retail Week.

“Longer term we have to take it a day at a time and just watch and listen to what the customer is telling us and make sure we react accordingly.”

When asked by Retail Week when that strategy would turn a profit, Putman said: “By the end of the year.”

Putman acquired HMV in Canada in 2017 and merged 70 of its stores with Sunrise Records, which he bought in 2014.

Sunrise Records has turned a profit for the past three years, and Putman believes he can replicate that success in the UK.

He has already had to make tough decisions, shutting 27 HMV stores, including its flagship store on Oxford Street. 

”Ultimately you have to make decisions on how viable the business is with the information you have, and it just didn’t make sense to have them,” Putman said. “Rates, rent, we were losing so much money with them. Unfortunately, you just can’t keep going that way.” 

He added: “I think there’s no doubt we’re going to have to make changes and react quickly and I think that’s what people are going to see, albeit it may start a little bit slower than we’d like. But we know that we can get a model in place that makes a lot of sense for the long term.”