Few retail failures have inspired the level of public regret that greeted HMV’s fall into administration earlier this year.

Few retail failures have inspired the level of public regret that greeted HMV’s fall into administration earlier this year.

So, perhaps we should not be surprised by the enthusiasm that surrounded Hilco’s £50m rescue deal of the entertainment retailer last week.

The restructuring group might seem an unlikely hero of the moment, synonymous as it still is with a number of administrations in the sector, from Borders to Habitat. But Hilco has a strong track record with the HMV brand, already operating it successfully in Canada, and has the hard won support of suppliers and record labels.

Music fans will hope this allows it to play the part of the maestro who carefully conducts a long-term turnaround and not that of the modern day pop Svengali who milks his one-hit wonders dry.

The mood music so far has been encouraging and HMV’s future looks all the more realistic now it is operating debt free and from a property portfolio that far better reflects the structural changes that have taken place in the market.

But Hilco still has significant hurdles to overcome if it is to replicate its success across the Atlantic here. While plans to jettison previous efforts to broaden the product offer into technology seem wise, questions remain about how HMV can craft a sustainable business around the declining market for physical CD and DVD sales.

Digital will have to play a part with downloads now accounting for a significant proportion of total music sales by value. And, while Hilco is no novice in this space, already operating a music streaming service in Canada, the prospect of successfully challenging the dominance of iTunes, or the position of streaming services such as Spotify, in the UK will be daunting.

But although the strengthening of the ecommerce proposition is key, ultimately this deal is a statement of belief in HMV’s bricks-and-mortar future and Hilco’s rescue plans will have to reflect the pressing need to reconnect with the retailer’s core audience through its stores. From gigs to gigabytes this needs to include a more compelling multichannel offer.

The new owners will no doubt have been buoyed by the public support HMV has received since it went under, but the retailer’s future now lies in whether Hilco can turn that wave of nostalgia into a long-term and tangible model.