HMV’s Triumphant Return to Oxford Street After a Century

British music store HMV has returned to its former flagship store on Oxford Street, London, after a four-year absence. It offers vinyl, clothing and merchandise, providing a vote of confidence for brick-and-mortar stores at a time when online commerce is becoming increasingly important.
363 Oxford Street was home to the very first HMV store in 1921, opened by composer Edward Elgar, and played a central role in the development of British popular music and culture. Pop group Madness reopened the store Friday.

The retailer, famous for its dog and gramophone brand, exited in 2019 when Canadian music entrepreneur Doug Putman struck a deal to save the bankrupt company, closing 27 prime locations and keeping 100 stores open.

In the center of Britain’s most famous shopping street, the store had recently stood empty or sold American sweets.

Now, thanks to more favorable rent and tax rates, HMV is coming home.

When I arrived in London in 2015, I walked past this store and thought, “Whoever owns this store, it’s truly amazing.” Eight years later, I’m the owner and we’re reopening it,” Putman said in an interview with Reuters.

He is optimistic about the future of physical stores.

“You have to have a reason for people to come to your store. For us, it’s about great selection, browsing,” he said. “At the end of the day, if you can’t make the shopping experience enjoyable, no one will come to your stores.

The store will offer 8,000 different vinyl albums, 12,000 CDs, music merchandise and a wide range of music technology.

It will also offer more than 4,000 products from franchises such as Pokemon, Star Wars, Marvel and DC, as well as more than 750 t-shirt designs.

With a purpose-built performance floor, the new store will also host performances from big names and local artists, showing how hard retailers have to work to ensure the success of their physical stores, while the Commerce is moving more and more online.

Singer Rachel Chinouriri will perform at the store on Friday.


The site is full of history. John Lennon, Cher, Elton John and Michael Jackson shopped there, and it hosted a host of British bands in store and on the roof, including Echo & The Bunnymen and Blur. He also played a key role in the rise of the Beatles.

HMV went into administration in 2013 and again in 2018, but under Mr Putman’s leadership it grew to more than 120 UK outlets and returned to profit in 2022. It opened a store in Dublin in June, another in Antwerp on Thursday, and plans to continue its expansion in Europe.

“We can fill a gap in the market in many European countries,” Putman said.

Its resurgence mirrors that of the vinyl market. HMV says its vinyl sales are significantly higher than the UK market’s annual growth of 18%, and represent half of its physical music sales.

“Vinyl has attracted a much younger demographic,” Mr. Putman said, adding that he expected growth to continue.

This article is originally published on

Beth Malcolm

Beth Malcolm is Scottish based Journalist at Heriot-Watt University studying French and British Sign Language. She is originally from the north west of England but is living in Edinburgh to complete her studies.