Business News Retail

HMV to reopen original Oxford Street shop, four years after shutting it down

By | Published on Friday 28 April 2023

The HMV Shop

HMV has announced that it is reopening its original shop on Oxford Street in London, four years after closing it as part of downsizing efforts. Something the company says “represents the latest sign of a dramatic turnaround of the HMV business under Canadian owner Doug Putman”, who bought the company out of administration in 2019.

“The expansion of our fan-focused pop culture offer is really working for us and the reopening of our flagship [store] represents the culmination of a good few years of hard work”, says Putman. “We are also opening stores in Europe this year, so while it is the culmination of one phase of work, more excitingly we see it as the launchpad for an exciting new era for HMV”.

Like many of the retailer’s larger stores, the revived Oxford Street branch – which originally opened in 1921 – will feature a stage for in-store performances. It also plans to host signings, and will be one of the first to be branded ‘The HMV Shop’ – a concept it started rolling out in 2021. By the end of this year, 38 stores will carry this branding.

Commenting on the return of HMV to Oxford Street, Westminster City Council’s Cabinet Member For Planning And Economic Development, Geoff Barraclough, says: “It’s fantastic to see this iconic brand back on Oxford Street, where it stood as a driver of music and pop culture in the capital for so long. It’s also particularly pleasing it is replacing one of the many US candy stores which sprang up during the pandemic”.

“The return of this famous name is proof that there’s a buzz back in the West End”, he goes on. “Established retailers want a presence on the UK’s premiere shopping street and as a council we want to see the nation’s high street reinvigorated and home to brands like HMV. There’s nothing quite like browsing through CDs and vinyl in-store. As a teenager who bought his first LP in an HMV shop some decades ago, I look forward to reliving that experience”.

HMV was put into administration by previous owner Hilco (which had previously saved the brand following its earlier collapse in 2013) after Christmas in 2018.

Weeks later it was purchased by Putman – owner of Sunrise Records in Canada, the company that had previously taken on the leases of 70 HMV stores in that country after Hilco bailed on the brand in the Canadian market in 2017.

Putman’s deal initially saved 100 shops in the UK, with 27 closing immediately – including the one on Oxford Street. Since then, the reach of the company has grown to 120 UK stores.

It was actually Hilco that oversaw the return of HMV to its original site at 393 Oxford Street in 2013. At the time, this was hailed by Hilco as a triumphant return of HMV’s first ever shop, but really it represented a significant downsizing when compared to the other unit it had been occupying on the famous London street in the years prior to that.