HMV boss predicts bright future as Liam Payne stars at new Birmingham store

An HMV store offering more than 100,000 LPs and CDs has opened its doors in Birmingham – with a live performance by former One Direction singer Liam Payne.

Hundreds of fans watched a short set by the star at the new HMV Vault, which is billed as the largest entertainment store in Europe and has a permanent stage to host and promote particularly local acts.

HMV owner Doug Putman, who purchased the retail chain in February, has pinpointed more live music as a core part of a strategy to pull more people into HMV’s high street outlets.

Speaking at the new store at a former Ikea site in Dale End, Birmingham, Mr Putman said: “Obviously getting this store open is absolutely fantastic – I think it just shows that there is popularity still in physical formats.

“When we start talking to customers that are in the store, what they are saying is ‘yes I stream, yes I download but I also like to consume physical content – I like to buy it and own it’.”

Mr Putman said of the new store: “What we are starting to realise is that people consume (music and films in) multiple ways.

“I think there is a different feel to it – having a stage, a screening room, it just adds to the overall experience you are getting.

“I would love this store to be successful, have a great trading Christmas and then open more stores in 2020 – that’s our ultimate goal.”

The new store is around 250 metres away from the world’s biggest Primark, which opened in nearby High Street in April, offering shoppers a beauty studio and a barber’s salon.

Speaking on Thursday, Mr Putman 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.

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.

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