Andrew Thompson - Asda

Andrew Thompson, Senior Buying Manager Music, Video, Games & Books

What first led you into entertainment retailing?

I started work in HMV Sheffield Meadowhall in December 1993 as a Christmas temp. I enjoyed 10 years learning my trade in various store management roles at HMV followed by six great years at Gamestation in York at the height of the games industry peak. 

How long have you been at Asda and what’s your role?

I was delighted to join the entertainment team at Asda in 2009. My role covers the whole of music, video, games and books strategy and buying for the business. I am biased, but I think I have the best Senior Buying Manager role at Asda!

What do you love about your job?

Dealing day in day out with great people and great products. It is also enjoyable working in such a fast paced environment – each day brings different challenges. I also love the buzz of really big entertainment launches such as Star Wars, Fifa, Ed Sheeran, Call of Duty Etc…

Describe the Asda business

Part of the Wal*Mart family, Asda is one of Britain’s leading retailers and helps customers save money and live better.  We also hold a leading position in the UK clothing market with our George clothing brand, and are making increasing inroads into the UK’s General Merchandise sector. With over 600 stores and over 150,000 colleagues, we are a vital part of many communities in the UK.

What is the main challenge for the entertainment retail industry today?

In my capacity I would say the decline in physical sales. Although overall the industry is in slight growth when adding in all digital sales, I think the industry faces further declines on physical media for the next few years and needs to work closely with retail to help drive customers down our entertainment aisles and make the big bigger.

Apart from your own, what is your favourite entertainment retailer and why?

HMV – it is where my career started, where I met my wife, and also probably gave me the majority of the training that has allowed me to enjoy a 20 year career in Entertainment. I still like to visit and browse the fantastic vinyl section in the Leeds store.  

What was the first ever film and album you owned and where did you buy them?

Crikey this is a real test of memory! I honestly can’t remember my first VHS film as I used to mainly rent, but my first ever bought DVD was Starship Troopers – I can remember being stunned by the quality improvement from VHS to DVD. First album is a bit embarrassing – Go West in 1985 I think – I still have it on vinyl. Let’s move on from that and onto games! My first ever game was Manic Miner on Sinclair Spectrum - I had a paper round and saved up for a year to be able to afford my first ever home computer. Some of the older 8 bit games are really unplayable nowadays, but Manic Miner is still a classic.

What non entertainment retailer do you admire and why?

I would have to say Amazon - although they do sell Entertainment, they cover such a diverse range of products, have a fantastic marketplace backed up with market leading fulfilment. 

You’re stuck in a lift, name the book, album, film, game and person that you would like to have with you.

Person – Any Lift repair expert!, Album -  New Order’s Low Life, Film - The Empire Strikes Back, Book – Lee Child’s Bad Luck & Trouble, Game – Super Mario World on SNES.

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