HMV eyes more store openings as it launches new Birmingham flagship
The owner of HMV said the company will return to opening new stores over the next year, just eight months after it shut a raft of high street shops after being rescued from administration.
Doug Putman, who purchased the music retailer in February, said the business will pump cash into new sites and refurbishments.
He told the PA news agency that the retailer is “under-indexed in London”, saying there is room for expansion in the capital as the company eyes new locations for its growth strategy.
Mr Putman revealed his ambitions ahead of the launch of HMV’s largest ever store, which is being called hmv Vault, at Dale End in Birmingham.
The store, which the retailer said will be the largest entertainment store in Europe, is due to open on Friday after a “multimillion-pound investment” in the new site.
The store, which will stock more than 100,000 LPs and CDs, has been constructed with a large performance area at its centre and will be launched with a live performance by former One Direction singer Liam Payne.
Mr Putman said introducing more live music and “local bands particularly” to stores is a core part of the strategy to bring more people to HMV’s high street sites.
He said his new strategy for the company will see the “first 20ft of stores transformed” to feel less corporate, more focused and cleaner than before.
The transformation of stores comes after the new owner, who runs Canadian record store business Sunrise, closed 15 stores after taking control earlier this year.
HMV was purchased in a rescue deal by the music mogul in February after it crashed into administration for the second time in five years in December 2018 when previous owner Hilco failed to make the business sufficiently profitable.
Mr Putman said he faced a “long list of issues” ranging from trying to secure new leases with landlords and improving the relationship with suppliers after he took control.
He added that “unsustainable” business rates are a particular burden on the business and called for a reduction to help high street retailers.
“You have to hope someone wakes up sooner rather than later over rates. We want to open more stores, but we need help when it comes to rates to make that possible,” Mr Putman said.
“It would be a scary thing if the high street wasn’t here. As someone from Canada I’d stress how much it should be treasured.”
Away from the high street, HMV has faced huge pressure from Amazon and other online retailers.
The company is currently running a limited service online but will launch all of its stock on its site by November 1, it said.
Mr Putman added: “We’re excited to have online back and running and it will be fully functional ready for Christmas. This is where a huge amount of the market is and we realise that.”