HMV's flagship store in Oxford Street, London is set to reopen its doors later this year in a sensational turn of fortune for the famed British retailer. Despite having been absent from its iconic location for four years since falling into administration, HMV is set to re-establish its place in the heart of London’s West End after last year saw the company finally returning to profitability.
The original store was opened way back in 1921, with renowned composer Sir Edward Elgar famously attending the launch.
In early 2013, HMV Group plc was forced to enter administration due to declining profits, later being bought by Canadian record store chain Sunrise Records in 2019, a year or so before the outbreak of the Covid-19 global pandemic.
Since then, HMV’s fortunes have gradually improved thanks to a reimagined business model and a new focus on merchandise, live events and audio tech, allowing the chain to rebound after interest in mainstream physical media took a hit thanks to the meteoric rise of streaming services and platforms.
The chain will also continue its push to distribute large amounts of vinyl records and cassette tapes, jumping on the huge re-emergence of classic formats over the past few years.
The London store will, however, feature a new configuration and updated branding to what long-term customers may be used to, with HMV pledging to bring the new ‘HMV Shop’ brand to 24 new sites and 14 existing locations by the year’s end. The site at 363 Oxford Street currently sports the logo from an American candy chain, so here’s hoping the famous image of Nipper the Jack Russell gazing at a gramophone also makes its rightful return.
According to Sunrise Records’ CEO and owner of HMV UK Doug Putman, the relaunch is set to serve as the start of a new era for the once-endangered chain, with the return of the brand’s flagship hopefully sparking a revival across the UK and further afield: "We are also opening stores in Europe this year, so while it is the culmination of one phase of work, we see it as the launch pad for an exciting new era for HMV." (via Sky)
Time will tell whether HMV can claw its way back to popularity by re-establishing a physical presence across the nation’s high streets. Either way, there’s no better place to start than back in the heart of the London high street.
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They do also sell 4K Blurays and vinyl though, which is probably the only thing I ever bother going in for. In fact 90% of my 4K collection is from there.
I think they also sell games as well, but I don't bother buying them because playing on an Xbox is much more of a hassle when you need to put the physical disk into the drive to prove you own it, instead of just playing from Game Pass/downloads from the store.
It's forgivable for older consoles, because that was just the way it was, but even for my PS2 I've written all my disks to the internal hard drive or NAS anyway and just play them from there.