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HMV to shut up shop in Bullring; Record store to go as owner refocuses.

Byline: Graham Young Features Staff

ONE of the biggest stores in Birmingham's Bullring is to quit the shopping centre.

HMV has announced a closing down sale that will end the company's days as a core Birmingham city centre business.

The entertainment giant once had a branch in the Pavilions shopping centre next to Waterstones in High Street, but that complex was closed in May 2016 to make way for Primark which opened on April 11, 2019. Another store in New Street is also long gone.

HMV Bullring looked like it might close a year ago when the company had again filed for administration for the second time in five yars.

But the majority of its stores and 1,500 jobs were saved when the firm was bought by Canadian businessman Doug Putman.

At the end of August 2019, the company announced it was to open HMV Vault in Dale End - where it was billed as Europe's biggest entertainment store.

The new site is on the fringe of the city centre retail area, in a spot plagued by trouble and earmarked for redevelopment as the new Martineau Galleries.

HMV staff were told the opening of the Vault would signal the closure of the Bullring store. Those who know the business say that, while the Bullring store has been taking more money than the Vault, its overheads are considerably higher.

Staff who spoke to the Post said they had not been given a definitive closing date for the Bullring store, but the consensus was that it was likely to be at the end of January.

A statement issued on behalf of the Bullring said the centre's owner Hammerson had helped HMV to relocate in the autumn.

"We can confirm that the HMV store at the Bullring is due to close.

"HMV recently opened Europe's largest entertainment store with Hammerson, HMV Vault, at Birmingham's Dale End."

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.

But he said it was ambition to open new stores and undertake refurbishments elsewhere.

Mr Putman said: "When I bought HMV, I had a vision for its future success. With the opening of the HMV Vault a part of that has become a reality. 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 new Birmingham store opened with a promise to revolutionise entertainment by offering more than 100,000 LPs and CDs as well as 19,000 Blu-ray and 42,000 DVD titles available.

HMV is due to celebrate its centenary in 2021. Its first shop was opened on July 20, 1921 at 363 Oxford Street in London by composer Sir Edward Elgar.

Born in Lower Broadheath near Worcester, Elgar was the first professor of music at the University of Birmingham for three years from 1904. The company became a major part of Britain's high streets as vinyl sales soared in the 1950s, 60s and 70s.

It survived the switches from vinyl to CDs and VHS cassettes to DVDs, but the post iPod and iPhone decade of 2010-2019 began to pose major new challenges in terms of how people consumed music and films.

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Canadian businessman and HMV owner Doug Putman in the Vault

HMV in the Bullring is finally closing down after the company opened up its Vault store in Dale End
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Author:Graham Young Features Staff
Publication:The Birmingham Post (England)
Geographic Code:4EUUK
Date:Jan 2, 2020
Words:609
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