HMV will swing open the doors of its historic Oxford Street store after a four-year absence, with the retailer’s boss saying it is a “great moment” in the chain’s recovery.
The entertainment chain is hosting a raft of bands such as Madness on Friday, when it welcomes customers to the shop it first opened in 1921.
Owner Doug Putman said he hopes the shop can have “crowds which will shut down the street” again, harking back to memorable visits including Michael Jackson, the Spice Girls and Sir Paul McCartney.
HMV shut the store in 2019 after the retail chain tumbled into administration and was forced to axe stores and jobs.
The retailer was rescued from insolvency by Canadian Doug Putman’s Sunrise Records business.
The entrepreneur, who recently attempted to buy fellow high street chain Wilko from collapse, told the PA news agency the chain has returned after striking a better deal with the shop’s landlord.
“It is a pretty great moment for us, coming back here after four years away,” he told PA.
“When we bought the business, we couldn’t keep the site because the rates bill and rent just didn’t make any financial sense.
“Getting another location in London was an immediate priority and as it became more obvious that the rent and rate situation here had improved and the landlord was open to discussions, we just felt it would be the right move to come back to somewhere with such history to us.”
The site, at 363 Oxford Street, had been operating as an American sweet shop following its closure.
However, in April, HMV confirmed it had sealed a deal with the landlord to return to the site.
Mr Putman said he was “positive” about the future of the London shopping destination, which has seen the local council clamp down on the sale of some illegal and counterfeit goods from sweet and souvenir shops.
“We think our return shows the positive direction things are going in here,” he told PA.
“It is all about balance.
“There is no problem having the odd candy store here but people don’t need tens of them, but also want to see an HMV or a Waterstones.”
HMV said the shop will become the largest entertainment store in London and is expected to draw appearances and signings by renowned musicians to its “purpose-built performance floor”.
It will stock more than 4,000 popular culture merchandise lines, some 20,000 vinyl albums and CDs, in excess of 8,000 4kUHD, Blu-rays and DVDs, as well as music technology products.
The opening follows a significant turnaround in trading at the retailer under Mr Putman’s ownership, which has seen it return to profitability amid increased focus on vinyl, live gigs and merchandise.
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