Thursday, June 20News For London

HMV reopens on Oxford Street after closing four years ago

HMV Store, 363 Oxford Street. Credit: Somya Singhdeo

HMV’s flagship store returned to London’s iconic shopping street on Friday after a four-year absence.

The store at 363 Oxford Street was reopened at 11:30 GMT by the pop band Madness.

The century-old entertainment retailer is best known for selling music- and film-related products and merchandise.

HMV closed its Oxford Street store back in 2019 after going into recession. It was then bought by Canadian retail company, ‘Sunrise Records’, and experienced a “dramatic turnaround” in profit.

Doug Putman, owner of HMV, attended the grand reopening and told the BBC that HMV is “once again becoming a mainstay on the UK High Street”. He added: “to be here and to be a part of it is just unbelievable”.

Putman described how there has been a rise in CD sales this year for the first time in over a decade. He explained: “Popular music artists, like Taylor Swift, are selling their music across all formats… and CDs are relatively cheap”.

HMV Store, 363 Oxford Street. Credit: Somya Singhdeo

Several live acts featured at the opening, including performances from African singer Baby Queen, and the bands Hard-Fi, the Reytons and Madness.

Visitors to the store who spent £40 or more also received a ‘Mad Beauty’ goody bag, containing a travel pillow, bath bomb, two makeup sponges and two face masks.

HMV Store Supervisor, Ed said: “I’m really excited for when we can get the events going again. I used to go to them before we closed in 2019”.

HMV first appeared on Oxford Street in 1921 when the store was opened by English composer Sir Edward Elgar. After that, the store became an air raid shelter during World War II and the location where the Beatles launched their career in 1962.

Before reopening as HMV last week, it was occupied by one of London’s largest American candy stores.

Doug Putman also owns Canada’s largest toy chain, Toys “Я” Us. He had plans to take over popular UK retailer Wilko but described it as “literally impossible” after he failed to make a deal with firms and landlords.

But he has big plans for HMV, hoping that the Oxford Street store will draw “crowds which will shut down the street again“.