HMV plans to reclaim top spot on Oxford Street

HMV plans to reclaim top spot on Oxford Street

April 28, 2023 : HMV, the U.K. music and entertainment retailer, will reopen its flagship store on Oxford Street in London after a four-year absence. The store is expected to reopen by the end of 2023, in time for the crucial Christmas holiday season. HMV closed the store in 2019 when the company went into administration and was taken over by Sunrise Records. The decision to return to 363 Oxford Street was due to a “dramatic turnaround,” with HMV returning to profit in 2022. The new store will have different branding and a new layout from the original, but the famous Nipper The Dog sign synonymous with the original business will not be featured.

The HMV store was opened in 1921 by British composer Sir Edward Elgar and became a world-famous presence for the music giant. The store also played host to a number of British bands over the years, including a rooftop gig by indie billboard-toppers Blur in 1995, plus the switching-on of the Christmas lights by the Spice Girls the following year. In 2000, Beatles producer Sir George Martin unveiled a blue plaque at the store to mark its place in the band’s rise to fame.

During its recent revival, HMV has broadened its focus to include merchandise, music technology, live music, and in-store signings amid falling sales of physical music and films on DVDs and CDs. However, there has been a resurgence in retro technology, with cassette sales in the U.S. and U.K. booming again and rumours of something afoot at fallen video rental giant Blockbuster.

The Oxford Street store was one of 27 HMV shops to close in February 2019 when Canadian music entrepreneur Doug Putman rescued the music and entertainment retailer from collapse. The group now has 120 outlets across the U.K., including its sub-brand Fopp, and Putman said that the upcoming Oxford Street reopening would represent “the launchpad for an exciting new era for HMV.” HMV said it would introduce the new HMV Shop format to 24 new sites and 14 existing stores by the end of 2023 and would also open stores in Europe in 2023.

The Oxford Street site is expected to feature a range of pop culture merchandise, vinyl, film, TV, and music technology, and it will also host signings by music stars, plus stage performances from up-and-coming acts. Councillor Geoff Barraclough, from Westminster City Council, the local authority for Oxford Street, said: “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 U.S. candy stores. As a council, we want to see the nation’s high street reinvigorated and home to brands like HMV.”