Today in London, HMV‘s largest entertainment retail store opens its doors at the brand’s new flagship location, 363 Oxford Street. This opening marks HMV’s return to its first site, where it originally began its journey in 1921, embedding itself once again in the heart of London’s retail scene.

The launch weekend is set to draw crowds with an appearance from the iconic band Madness, who will engage with fans and experience the retail environment from behind the tills. The opening will also feature performances and appearances from artists like Baby Queen, The Reytons, Hard-Fi, and an acoustic set from Rachel Chinouriri.

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HMV Oxford Street
Queues of people await hmv 363 Oxford Street opening the retailer’s new flagship store

The new HMV shop, spanning 10,500 sq. ft and divided over three floors, is designed to be a haven for music and film enthusiasts. With an inventory of around 35,000 products, the store aims to become a central hub for fans and collectors. It seeks to blend retail with community, offering a venue for fans to indulge in their passions and connect with one another.

Over the years, HMV Oxford Street has hosted gigs and signings from world-renowned artists such as The Weeknd, Kylie Minogue, The Spice Girls, and Blur. The latter even performed on the rooftop of the shop in 1995. The new store, complete with a purpose-built performance floor, is anticipated to attract performances and signings from similarly acclaimed artists.

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hmv oxford st

Vinyl enthusiasts and collectors will find a trove of 8,000 different vinyl albums, and the store will also offer a diverse selection of 12,000 CDs. Music technology enthusiasts will find a wide range of products to explore. For pop culture and entertainment fans, the store features over 4,000 products from beloved franchises like Pokémon, Star Wars, Marvel, and DC, as well as a selection of over 750 different T-shirt designs.

Doug Putman, CEO and owner of HMV, expressed his excitement about the store’s opening: “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. 363 Oxford Street is a homecoming for the brand and a clear statement about the strength of HMV, of London as a shopping destination and the state of music in the UK, so I can’t wait to welcome the fans through our doors.”

Cllr Geoff Barraclough, from Westminster City Council, remarked on HMV’s significant return: “HMV is returning to its historic home on Oxford Street. I am excited to welcome the store back to where it stood for more than 90 years. Its return along with numerous other brands is testimony that the buzz is back on the nation’s most-loved high street.”

CPG hmv opening 024
Rachel Chinouriri, – hmv 363 Oxford Street, the retailer’s new flagship store in the heart of London’s West End, as the iconic brand marks its return to its international flagship store four years after it closed its doors.

HMV at 363 Oxford Street has an exciting line-up of entertainment planned for the upcoming months, including live performances by Miles Kane, Bill Bragg, Shed Seven, and Bananarama.

A brief history of hmv


The gramophone brand was founded and opened up its first dedicated store at 363 Oxford Street in

July. The opening ceremony was led by celebrated composer and conductor Sir Edward Elgar – the

earliest known instance of an in-store personal appearance by a recording artist.


It joined with Columbia Graphophone Company to form Electric and Musical Industries (EMI)


A special hmv train left London Paddington for a nationwide tour, lasting four months. It visited 58 towns and cities, displaying hmv goods to retailers.


A fire destroys the hmv Oxford Street store and offices on Boxing Day, forcing the company to take up temporary premises on Bond Street and Regent Street. It took 250 firemen to bring the blaze under control, and the front-of-store Nipper logo was all that remained unscathed.


A bigger hmv Oxford Street was re-opened by Sir Thomas Beecham on 8th May, with the first floor boasting a recording studio.


hmv Oxford Street operated by candle-light during WWII, while the Regent Street store was closed due to damage from an explosion.


EMI tried to unearth part of its history by sponsoring an attempt to exhume the bones of the original Nipper dog. A small area around where the mulberry tree stood was examined and some unidentifiable bones were found.


hmv Oxford Street introduced its first self-service showroom. This experiment later ended in the early 60s after heavy losses through theft. As the Queen passed Oxford Street during her Coronation, a huge sign proclaimed: “Thy Choicest Gifts In Store On Her Pleased to Pour – Long May She Reign.”


For years hmv oxford Street featured a small recording studio and cutting room on the second floor, which also helped facilitate the transferal of demo tapes onto 78-rpm discs. In 1958 it was used by an unknown Rock ‘n’ Roll band called the Drifters, who presented their demo to EMI records and landed a recording deal. They were later to become Cliff Richard & The Shadows.


On 8th February, the Beatles manager, Brian Epstein, took a tape of the group into hmv Oxford Street’s in-store recording studio to make a demo record. The studio manager, Jim Foy, liked what he heard and started the chain of several meetings, which culminated in Epstein meeting Head of A&R at EMI’s Parlophone, George Martin, at Abbey Road studios – the rest is history.


John Lennon, a regular customer at hmv’s Oxford Street store between 1962-1967, purchased a copy of Bob Dylan’s Freewheelin’ in November of this year.


hmv expanded its retail operations across London after the 60’s revolution in popular culture resulted in a massive upswing in hmv’s business. For the first time, the company expanded its retail operation with 15 new stores established in London and the South East by the end of the decade.


hmv continued to expand under Dave Wilde, who was believed to be a visionary for his plans in expansion, self-service, discounting and promotion.


Shops across the UK suffered restricted business hours due to strikes, but hmv continued serving customers – again, using candles – by taking their orders at the front of the store, and running to fetch it.


hmv Oxford Street was so successful it was reported that the tape floor was responsible for 10% of all tape sales in the UK. The release of the Sex Pistols’ album “Never Mind The Bollocks” sparked outrage, and hmv customers complained. It resulted in hmv setting up an Obscene Publications Committee for managers to ask advice on records or sleeves they were concerned about. hmv taped over the word ‘bollocks’.


A merger of THORN and EMI ended a direct association between hmv and the music company, which had lasted 60 years. Soon after, they were formally renamed hmv Record Shops Ltd.

Among personal appearances from Duran Duran, Spandau Ballet, and famous shoppers including Cher and Elton John, Michael Jackson visited hmv Oxford Street and shopped for 15 minutes, before attention from fans lead to him hiding in the storeroom for half an hour.


hmv organized a nationwide search in association with The Mirror newspaper to find a Nipper ‘lookalike’. The winning dog, Toby, from Doncaster, went on to represent hmv for nearly nine years – attending store openings and artist personal appearances (PAs). Ironically, in 1984 he was banned from entering the famous Crufts dog show due to a lack of pedigree.


In celebration of Nipper’s centenary, hmv organises the unveiling of a plaque commemorating Nipper’s final resting place in Kingston Upon Thames. hmv also sold its first compact disc (CD) this year.


In October 1986 hmv opened what was at the time the world’s largest record store – at London’s Oxford Circus. The store was launched by Bob Geldof and was listed in The Guinness Book of Records.


One of the largest ever attendances for an in-store PA was for teen sensations, Bros, who attracted over 5,000 near-hysterical fans to hmv’s Oxford Circus store in 1987. The PA had to be called off after 20 minutes, although the resulting pandemonium blocked of Oxford Street traffic for nearly two hours. Also in 1987, Echo & The Bunnymen played a live set on the roof of the hmv store at 363 Oxford Street. The appearance angered the local police, who nearly arrested the lead singer Ian McCulloch.


When Michael Jackson was in the UK during his Moonwalk tour, he visited both hmv stores on Oxford Street for secret shopping sprees, purchasing Soul music as well as wildlife videos.


Toby the dog was retired in 1990 and was replaced by Nipper – his real name – from Warrington. Nipper won the role as a result of appearing on BBC 1’s ‘That’s Life’, presented by Esther Rantzen. 150 Oxford Street hosted the official Oxford Street Christmas lights switch-on with Cliff Richard.


Former Beatle, George Harrison, visited hmv Oxford Circus for a private shopping visit.


hmv always had a strong association with Take That, who staged their (at that time) only ever UK personal appearances at hmv stores. In 1992 they promoted their “Everything Changes” album by appearing in nine hmv stores around the UK. Initial PAs in Brighton, Hanley, Birmingham and London drew relatively few people but, by the end, the group was being mobbed, and, on police advice, the final Nottingham-leg of the tour was cancelled.

Take That’s August appearance in hmv Manchester drew a massive 4,000-strong crowd. The group had to escape from the store in a security van, dressed as police officers.


hmv Oxford Circus featured the world’s largest computer games department. Level One was officially opened by media personality, Chris Evans, in September. Nipper’s computer game debut followed soon after. To celebrate the opening of Level One, the Super Nipper game was created.


One memorable PA came from Paul Weller who, in 1994, attracted a massive crowd of nearly 2,000 people to hmv in Oxford Street for a free performance of songs from his “Wildwood” album.

This year also saw the longest in-store signing (five hours) when Irish star Daniel O’Donnell visited hmv Oxford Circus. Although there were only some 1,500 people in the store, many of his fans were elderly and had to take a ‘rest’ when they finally got to meet him.

When Morrissey visited hmv in his hometown of Manchester in 1994 he stayed for a full four hours to meet all his fans. Morrissey signed a record 3,000 autographs.


The rooftop gig stunt was repeated this year, when the 363 store hosted a live rooftop performance by Blur, who performed six songs to launch their “Great Escape” album. The show was even recorded by cameras mounted on helicopters circling the store.

hmv’s biggest-selling album of the 90’s was the October release of What’s The Story [Morning Glory] by Oasis; hmv’s Oxford Circus store sold more copies of this recording than any other music outlet in the UK.


363 Oxford Street hosted the official Oxford Street Christmas lights switch-on with the Spice Girls.

A crowd of over 6,000 people attended. Geri Halliwell later famously remarked that it was the point she realized they had ‘made it’ into the big-time. The event took place in November in the week that the band launched their debut album “Spice”.


hmv celebrated the opening of its 100th store at the Fort Retail Park, Birmingham on the 12th March. The store was officially launched by Robbie Williams, who also gave a live performance outside the store, while Van Morrison provided the entertainment at the evening reception.

In October of this year, Sir Paul McCartney made his first ever public record signing for his album “Flaming Pie”, when he officially re-launched hmv’s flagship Oxford Circus store. The event attracted over 5,000 people to Oxford Street, which came to a standstill.

At this time, hmv’s biggest selling single of all time was Elton John’s homage to Princess Diana, Candle in the Wind.


In 1998 hmv was the first music retailer to establish a transactional website,; offering more than 250,000 music titles over the internet.


When Coldplay played an after-hours gig at hmv 150 Oxford Street on 10th July to launch their Parachutes album, Chris Martin announced it was the 100th gig they had given, writing the number 100 on the back of his hand.


In November, Westlife set a Guinness World Record for the amount of PAs done in one day, meeting or attracting up to 10,000 fans over the course of 24 hours at stores in Dublin, Belfast, and Edinburgh.


In July, The Darkness performed a now iconic live gig at hmv 150 Oxford Street to launch their debut album, “Permission to Land”, reaching 120 decibels in the process. The most exclusive live performance staged at hmv was by Madonna, who, on May 9th, officially launched her “American Life” album with an hour-long concert at hmv 150 Oxford Street in front of 750 invited fans.


U2 fan Martin Shanahan queued for 3 days and nights outside hmv Grafton Street, Dublin, to be the first person anywhere in the world to buy the rock band’s album “How to Dismantle an Atomic Bomb” when it was released on Friday, 19th November.


hmv buys Fopp and continues to run it as in independent brand.


Sunrise Records owner Doug Putman rescues the UK hmv business, having bought the Canadian business in 2017. In October, hmv opens Europe’s largest entertainment store with The Vault in Birmingham, the retailer’s current flagship site.


hmv celebrates its 100th anniversary with a special concert performance by Ed Sheeran at the hmv Empire in Coventry, Uk.

hmv’s 1921 record label is formed supporting Vinyl releases from hmv live and local artists who perform live in shops around the country. The first album to be released through the label was from India Arkin.


hmv announces that it will make a triumphant return to its iconic 363 Oxford Street, London location. A month later it opens its flagship hmv shop in Dublin

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