Shoppers have been hunting out hidden nuggets at HMV stores as the retailer welcomed back “all the usual faces” following the easing of lockdown restrictions.
The entertainment giant reopened all 93 stores across England and Wales and was expecting to see in-store shopping return to pre-lockdown levels amid strong demand for vinyls and original CDs.
One customer took the week off work to make the most of the easing of restrictions, and was looking to add to his vinyl collection at HMV in Manchester’s Arndale Centre on Monday morning.
Ben Milner, from Lancashire, said: “I just love music, I have got my record collection at home but it’s just not the same going on the internet and ordering stuff, it’s been another thing that I have missed so coming in and having a look around the records and stuff and seeing what I can find, why not.”
Store manager Terry Boyle said it had been a “tough, challenging time”, but added: “It has been great this morning to see our regular customer base and all the usual faces back in the store.”
He said: “There is nothing like being in a store and shopping physically because when you are online you are straight to it, you buy the item you want, but when you are in store there might be something that you come across, that nugget that you find.
“Particularly when you stream music online you never really listen to the album right through, you are just picking tracks, but when you have the physical copy in your CD player or in your record player, then you have got to play that album right through.
“That’s how you get to know a band and that’s how you get to know and appreciate music, that’s definitely what the physical copy does for you.”
All stores will comply with social-distancing measures and staff will wear PPE at all times, while click-and-collect services will also be in place to ensure the amount of people in store remains at safe numbers.
“List and Leave” and “Ring and Reserve” have also been introduced, which allow customers to reserve the items they want to purchase either in person or by phone, and then collect them from the store.
Doug Putman, owner of HMV, said: “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, 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.”