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HMV opens biggest store as owner Doug Putnam demonstrates his confidence in the UK high street

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HMV is today opening its biggest store – and owner Doug Putnam says the move is a multimillion pound vote of confidence in the UK high street. 

The multichannel music and entertainment retailer says its new 25,000 sq ft HMV Vault store in Birmingham is the largest music and entertainment space in Europe. It will feature a live music performance space, as well as stocking more than 100,000 LPs and CDs across musical genres. It promises to be the first retailer to be able to offer every film available on 4K UHD – amounting to about 20,000 Blu-ray and more than 40,000 DVD titles – and will also stock some 7,000 music-related books, as well as fashion and merchandise. Experts will be on hand to help shoppers choose music technology from turntables to headphones.

Doug Putnam, who bought HMV out of administration in February, saving 100 stores as a result, says today’s opening demonstrates his faith in high street stores.

“I am a firm believer in the potential for British high street retail and HMV will play a fundamental role in ensuring that our shopping districts continue to thrive,” he said.

“Retail offers two things a purely digital experience of music simply can’t – the opportunity to experience the biggest acts live in our stores and our ability to offer a platform to new artists in the communities where we operate, as well as opportunities for fans to come together and share their passion for music and film with our dedicated staff.

“The HMV Vault has been built with the needs of the modern music and film fan at its heart with a permanent live performance space and an unparalleled range catering to the full breadth of our customers’ tastes.” 

The opening weekend at the shop, previously an Ikea warehouse in Dale End, will feature a range of live music performances, starting with former One Direction singer Liam Payne today and continuing with James Arthur, The Murder Capital and other, local, bands over the course of the weekend.

Putnam said: “I want our stores to be at the heart of a community of music and film fans and a place where they can not only satisfy their passion, they can also meet each other and discover new artists as well as see some of the biggest names in the business perform. The HMV Vault will become the home of music in Birmingham so I can’t wait to welcome the city’s fans through our doors.”

HMV cites BPI research that suggests 57% of UK people love or are fanatical about music, including 70% of those aged between 16 and 24. Nearly a third (30%) of UK shoppers buy music at least once a month. 

Putnam bought HMV, previously ranked Top350 in IRUK Top500 research, out of administration February, saving 100 of its 127 stores, and 1,487 jobs. The Canadian businessman had already bought Sunrise Records in 2014 and previously took over HMV’s Canadian business, building a chain of about 80 stores in the US. 

Image: Fabio de Paola/courtesy of HMV

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