HMV's revival under new ownership indicates a positive future for traditional physical stores on the UK high street, suggests a prominent retail lawyer.
The iconic HMV store, absent for four years, recently reopened its flagship 10,500 square feet location on London's Oxford Street, where it originally debuted in 1921
This resurgence follows a transformation under Doug Putnam's ownership, who acquired HMV out of administration in 2019. The store now offers a diverse range of products catering to various age groups and demographics.
In addition to CDs and vinyl, HMV now emphasizes Asian pop culture products, incorporating a performance space, music venue, DVDs, and books. This innovative concept has expanded to approximately 40 other HMV stores nationwide, with plans for about 20 new stores annually in the foreseeable future.
In a similar trend, Avon, a well-known beauty brand with a 137-year history, announced its intention to establish physical stores for the first time. Furthermore, online giants like Amazon and Gymshark are venturing into physical retail spaces.
Amanda French, head of retail at Clarke Willmott, a national law firm, specializes in assisting multinational retail businesses with portfolio management and store development programs. She views HMV and Avon as successful "omni-channel" brands that have adapted well to the evolving retail landscape.
French notes HMV's ability to recognize and pivot towards new product offerings, such as pop culture products, enabling them to connect with a fresh customer base. Despite the shift, the stores maintain the beloved vinyl and CDs while fostering a community-oriented space for customers. The decision to open 20 new stores annually reflects a bold strategy supported by the existing 40 stores, ensuring immediate accessibility for their customer base.
The entrance of established and beloved brands like HMV into the high street, alongside names like Avon, Amazon, Maniere de Voire, and Gymshark embracing physical retail, signals an exciting period for the retail industry.
Clarke Willmott collaborates with retail and leisure businesses across the supply chain, aiding them in navigating the evolving landscape, modifying property portfolios, negotiating leases, and addressing other business-related matters beyond property concerns.