Heading for the end?

Since Zavvi took its final breaths in February of this year, Simon Douglas, ex-Zavvi boss type, has been trading a handful of the old sites under the name Head Entertainment. You can spot a Head store by its chronically cheap looking logo, done out in the Zavvi colour scheme and quickly bunged over the name Zavvi on the shop frontage. The shops are, from what I can gather, pretty much a dumping ground for all of the leftover Zavvi stock that Douglas got from the administrator as Zavvi shut for the final time. This does mean that the vast majority of the stock in store isn’t especially thrilling but it’s worth having a look at the bargain CD section. This largely consists of shelves over-stuffed with unsorted CDs and then large crates and boxes full of discs dotted around the shop. It’s a feat of endurance and not for the weak willed.

If the Meadowhall branch is anything to go by, all of these CD boxes have now been marked down to £2.99 or less, suddenly making for some decent bargains amongst stock that was previously the fairly regular price of £5/6. Picked up some Pixies, Iron & Wine, Nirvana, Black Mountain, Modest Mouse, The Aliens, Lambchop, The National, Sigur Ros, Edgar Jones and Isobel Campbell at £2.99, plus Soft Cell and Yo La Tengo at £1.99 each. Throw in the spangly 2CD edition of The Chemical Brothers’Brotherhood‘ at £6.74 and you’re looking at a decent haul for not much cash. Like I said, it takes some time to sift through the vast piles of crap in order to find these, but there’s plenty of decent stuff available.

Despite all of these joyous bargains, it’s hard to see where Head is, er, heading. They’ve got a small selection of current chart albums in at normal prices, but pretty much everything else is stock from up to Christmas 2008 reduced in a seemingly arbitrary fashion. Presumably, it depends how many boxes of each title the Zavvi warehouse had at the time of the sale but it does seem odd to see some recent stand up DVDs at £2.74 and others at £9.99 or more. Rumours circulated when it launched that it was done so with very short term leases and that it’s nothing more than quick attempt to flog off tonnes of stock at customer-friendly prices. Suits me. But when I was in one of the stores a few months back, I asked what the situation was and was told, “Well, we need more variety on the high street.” Now, this seems more than a little disingenuous when the stock isn’t being updated with new releases (barring the small rack or two of new albums) and the whole shop is operating one big sale. In light of these mixed messages, it’s hard to know what Head is. Apparently, the old Zavvi shop in Leicester’s Highcross centre will reopen as Head in early July, while the Bluewater shop has already closed and Meadowhall is rumoured to be going the same way in a couple of months. Apparently, it’ll be having a ‘summer clearout’ from Thursday. How a clearout shop has a clearout is beyond me, but it could mean ever cheaper prices on good stuff. I think it’s fair to conclude that Head isn’t going to be one of those shops that is fondly remembered in years to come but, while it’s still there, it’s worth picking through the odds and sods.