HMV starts revival with Vault in Birmingham, Europe’s biggest music store

HMV starts revival with Vault in Birmingham, Europe's biggest music store
The Friday launch event of HMV Vault in Birmingham will see a performance by Liam Payne, while James Arthur will perform on Saturday. Pictured is HMV's new owner Doug Putman. (Image: Fabio De Paola)
// HMV marks next step in its revival with multi-million-pound investment on new CX-focused store
// HMV Vault, open from tomorrow in Birmingham, measures 25,000sq ft and will be the largest music retail space in Europe
// HMV’s new owner Doug Putman also plans further store openings over the next year

HMV is taking the next step in its revival with opening of a huge experiential store in Birmingham, as the retailer’s new owner hints at more store openings over the next year.

The HMV Vault, slated to open tomorrow at Dale End, measures 25,000 sq ft and will become the largest music and entertainment retail space in Europe once open.

It will stock 100,000 LPs and CDs, 20,000 Blu-ray and over 40,000 DVD titles, and offer a large performance area at its centre that will see former One Direction singer Liam Payne take to the stage during tomorrow’s launch event.


HMW’s new owner Doug Putman said the new store was a vote of confidence in the British high street, and that HMV will play a fundamental role in ensuring shopping districts continue to thrive.

Speaking to the PA news agency, Putman said HMV will return to opening new stores over the next year just eight months after he bought it out of administration and shut down a raft ofHMV sites – including the iconic Oxford Street flagship in London.

He said his company, Canada-based Sunrise Records, will pump cash into new HMV sites and refurbishments.

HMV starts revival with Vault in Birmingham, Europe's biggest music store
HMV owner Doug Putman, pictured, says the new store is a vote of confidence in the British high street. (Image: Fabio De Paola)

He added that HMV was “under-indexed in London”, and hinted there was room for expansion in the capital as the company eyes new locations for its growth strategy.

Meanwhile, HMV is currently running a limited service online but will launch all of its stock on its site by November 1.

Putman told PA that introducing more live music and “local bands particularly” to stores in order to drive footfall and sales was a core part of HMV’s growth and customer experience strategy.

He also 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.

HMV starts revival with Vault in Birmingham, Europe's biggest music store
HMV Vault will stock more than 100,000 LPs and CDs as well as 20,000 Blu-ray and over 40,000 DVD titles. (Image: Fabio De Paola)

HMV was rescued by Putman in February after it crashed into administration for the second time in five years in December 2018, when previous owner Hilco failed to make the business profitable.

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 added that “unsustainable” business rates were a particular burden on the business and called for a reduction to help 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,” Putman told PA.

“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 Vault was originally a download and streaming music service launched by HMV Canada in 2012, a year before HMV Group first went into administration with £176 million in debt.

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  1. As a Town Centre Manager it is great to see a vote of confidence for the high street, hopefully the HMV brand review will also offer customers the chance to listen and discover new music instore. Interestingly HMV is the one retailer on the wish list of people in all three of our town centres (Bridgend, Porthcawl, Maesteg)…

  2. Hopefully this move from HMV marks part of an overall change in thinking amongst high street retailers. They were disrupted by the online retailers like Amazon, but very few made moves to respond and most simply carried on delivering their services the same way as they had for centuries beforehand.


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