Why HMV's vision could mean new stores opening in Scotland

The owner of HMV said the company will return to opening new stores over the next year, just eight months after it shut a raft of high street shops after being rescued from administration.
HMV owner Doug Putman has spoken of his ambitionsHMV owner Doug Putman has spoken of his ambitions
HMV owner Doug Putman has spoken of his ambitions

Doug Putman, who purchased the music retailer in February, said the business will pump cash into new sites and refurbishments.

He said the retailer was "under-indexed in London", saying there was room for expansion in the capital as the company eyes new locations for its growth strategy.

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HMV goes into administration putting over 2,000 staff at risk
There are plans to open new HMV stores just eight months after the company went into administrationThere are plans to open new HMV stores just eight months after the company went into administration
There are plans to open new HMV stores just eight months after the company went into administration

Three HMV stores in Scotland shut earlier this year when the firm went into administration, with the outlets in Ayr and Braehead Shopping Centre as well as the Fopp store on Byres Road in Glasgow all closing.

Scotsman business editor Scott Reid on the HMV decision

"News that HMV is looking to open stores will be a shot in the arm for the high street, as well as Scottish music lovers.

"Previous restructurings at HMV have left many Scottish towns without a dedicated music and video retailers.

"Of course, more and more people are choosing to consume their music and movies via streaming services such as Spotify, Tidal, Netflix and Amazon Prime (you pay your monthly fee but don't actually ever own anything).

The last of those has also eaten away at the physical media market that the likes of HMV once dominated by offering cut-price albums and videos via the net.

Yet there remains a hard core of us out there who value something physical, whether that be a boxed DVD or Bluray movie, or a compact disc or 12-inch album. The vinyl renaissance has caught many by surprise.

HMV owns Fopp and its Edinburgh branch on Rose Street is frequently bustling.

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There must be some hope that HMV itself will return to the city centre, possibly within the new St James development. Its current solo effort in the capital, within Leith's Ocean Terminal shopping centre, is vast, but a tad off the beaten track.

HMV's largest ever store opened

Mr Putman revealed his ambitions ahead of the launch of HMV's largest ever store, which is being called hmv Vault, at Dale End in Birmingham.

The store, which the retailer said will be the largest entertainment store in Europe, is due to open on Friday after a "multimillion-pound investment" in the new site.

The store, which will stock more than 100,000 LPs and CDs, has been constructed with a large performance area at its centre and will be launched with a live performance by former One Direction singer Liam Payne.

Live music the key

Mr Putman said introducing more live music and "local bands particularly" to stores is a core part of the strategy to bring more people to HMV's high street sites.

He said his new strategy for the company will see the "first 20ft of stores transformed" to feel less corporate, more focused and cleaner than before.

The transformation of stores comes after the new owner, who runs Canadian record store business Sunrise, closed 15 stores after taking control earlier this year.

Why HMV almost went under

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HMV was purchased in a rescue deal by the music mogul in February after it crashed into administration for the second time in five years in December last year when previous owner Hilco failed to make the business sufficiently profitable.

Mr Putman said he faced a "long list of issues" ranging from trying to secure new leases with landlords and improving the relationship with suppliers after he took control.

He said "unsustainable" business rates are a particular burden on the business and called for a reduction to help high street retailers.

"You have to hope someone wakes up sooner rather than later over rates. We want to open more stores, but we need help when it comes to rates to make that possible," Mr Putman said.

"It would be a scary thing if the high street wasn't here. As someone from Canada I'd stress how much it should be treasured."

The battle against the online juggernauts

Away from the high street, HMV has faced huge pressure from Amazon and other online retailers.

The company is currently running a limited service online but will launch all of its stock on its site by 1 November, it said.

Mr Putman added: "We're excited to have online back and running and it will be fully functional ready for Christmas. This is where a huge amount of the market is and we realise that."

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