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HMV marks its centenary with store openings and live events – including a free Ed Sheeran gig

Doug Putman

HMV is marking its 100th birthday today with plans to open up to 10 more stores this year – including a potential new London flagship store. 

The retailer, whose first store opened at 363 Oxford Street in July 1921 with a ceremony by composer and conductor Sir Edward Elgar, says the anniversary will be marked with a special free gig by Ed Sheeran for 700 fans at the reopening of the refurbished hmv Empire in Coventry on August 25. Live in-store events and signings are also restarting following the loosening of lockdown restrictions this week. KSI, Laura Mvula and Anne-Marie will be among the first artists to appear in its stores.

HMV, which marked the centenary today with the opening of a new store in Solihull, says footfall has been strong since shops were able to reopen, with growing demand for both vinyl and pop culture products. On July 24 it will launch an ‘exclusives day’ with 40 1921 Centenary Editions available on vinyl, both in-store and online. The editions will feature favourite records from the past 100 years, including Kate Bush, The Prodigy, The Libertines and The XX. 

HMV owner Doug Putman says: “hmv’s 100th birthday is a huge milestone for the British high street and the music industry. Our stores continue to offer millions of customers a way of discovering new music, with an unrivalled vinyl range, as well as giving fans the chance to buy exclusive products from their favourite artists and franchises. We’re famed for our passionate and knowledgeable staff, and we’re a business that listens to what they and our customers want to see in stores.

“We have so many exciting plans for our Centenary, from a gig with Ed Sheeran to the return of our in-store signings and performances. This is a huge year for hmv, and we want to set up the business so that it’s still here in another 100 years’ time.”

Ed Sheeran says “Very happy to say that I’ll be performing for hmv’s 100th birthday in Coventry. hmv is a store that I spent a lot of time in growing up and a place where I discovered lots of new music, so I’m looking forward to celebrating this milestone with them.”

Putman, who also owns Sunrise Records in Canada, bought hmv out of administration in 2019. It now sells online and through more than 100 UK stores. HMV is a Top350 retailer in RXUK Top500 research. 

Ed Sheeran fans can apply to be in the audience at the hmv Empire in Coventry here.. All those who registered by 11.59pm on Sunday August 8 will be entered into a free prize draw. Terms and conditions are here.

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