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HMV boss upbeat as high street re-opens in England and Wales

By | Published on Monday 12 April 2021

Doug Putman

The owner of HMV says that he is optimistic about the retail firm’s short-term and long-term future as non-essential shops in England and Wales are allowed to re-open today as part of the relaxation of COVID rules.

The entertainment retailer will re-open all 93 of its stores in England and Wales today after months of enforced lockdown. It says that its online store saw a boost during that latest COVID lockdown, but that it now expects to see a surge in customers returning to the high street to buy music and movie products from its physical shops in the weeks ahead.

Doug Putman, whose Canadian music retail outfit Sunrise Records bought HMV UK in 2019, tells reporters: “The British high street has had a tough start to 2021, but as the country slowly gets back to normal, we’re confident that shoppers will return to supporting physical retail”.

“For millions of customers, browsing in-store is something that can’t be replaced”, he goes on, “and we’ve put measures in place across the estate to ensure that they can take their time discovering our massive range of entertainment and merchandise while social distancing. We’re expecting people to purchase some of the incredible new releases we’ve seen during the latest lockdown”.

HMV will also be offering its ‘list and leave’ and ‘ring and reserve’ services, whereby customers who’d rather not browse can drop off or phone in lists of products they want to buy, which HMV staff members will then gather together for easy collection.

Although Putman had barely been in control of HMV for a year before the COVID pandemic forced restrictions on the high street, he insists that he remains optimistic about the company’s future.

He concludes: “This year marks HMV’s 100th birthday, and we’’e setting ourselves up to be here for the next 100 years. Over the coming months, customers will start to see exclusive new merchandise and special editions arrive in their local HMV stores”.

HMV shops in Scotland and Northern Ireland will remain closed until local COVID rules change.