HMV’s eyes return to Oxford Street as he celebrates his 100th birthday

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HMV is considering a return to Oxford Street, but it is unlikely to return to its former flagship store, its Canadian owner has said.

Talk to I As the brand celebrates its 100th anniversary this week, Doug Putnam said he has been in talks for years with the owner of the iconic store, which was HMV’s first location when it opened in 1921.

“I love it,” he said. “But we never managed to get [an agreement] on the line.”

The store was one of 27 that closed in 2019 after Mr. Putnam, entrepreneur and owner of Canadian chain Sunrise, struck a bailout deal for HMV after its collapse under administration.

Although he struggled to return to the original premises, Mr Putnam said he still wanted to open a department store in London, as part of HMV’s Centennial Year plans, which in will see up to 10 more in the UK.

The new flagship might even be a neighbor of the old one, as Mr Putnam noted there was “a bunch of vacancies” on Oxford Street, and said he liked the location.

Recent departures from London’s famous shopping street have included Debenhams, Gap, and brands that were part of Sir Philip Green’s Arcadia such as TopShop.

Meanwhile, HMV is today opening a new store in Solihull as part of a week of celebrations for its 100th anniversary.

Other events include a 700-person Ed Sheeran concert at the HMV Empire in Coventry this Sunday, while shops and the website will carry special editions of selected vinyl records on Saturday.

Mr Putnam reiterated the chain’s commitment to UK department stores, but said the UK government could do more to support retailers by reforming corporate prices.

“It’s really special and not all countries have it,” he said. “I still love him, I still think there is a place for it. The most important thing is what the government does with corporate tariffs. It’s as simple as that.

He also expressed confidence in the future of entertainment retail, saying the move away from CDs and DVDs has been offset by demand for merchandise such as t-shirts and board games, as well as by the resurgence of vinyl.

Promising that the retailer intends to continue in business for another 100 years, Mr. Putnam said, “Now my job is really to find ways to keep it going long after I’m gone.”

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