Will memory become reality as HMV plans Oxford St return?

By James Knight.

One thing I have missed from the High Street is browsing through the CDs and vinyls racks, always coming out with a record I didn’t went in there for.

From my teens I use to go on a Saturday to the local record store, Music Land in Watford, or HMV in Richmond or Kingston in later years, it was taken away by online and high rents and rates, with councils not looking at what it meant to have a record store in their town.

Vinyl sales are booming and independent record stores have been trying to fill a hole in the market with great PR and word of mouth.

Return of a great name is on the way. HMV opened its doors on Oxford Street in 1921, it was iconic part of famous street and now they are planning to open a new store, providing they can find new premises in 2022, plus more than ten new stores in Britain.

Publicity has helped the campaign to get a return, with Canadian Doug Putman believing the public will come back. I feel he is on a winner.

“People obviously love going out shopping, they like touching and feeling and that’s something that online is not going to replace,” he told the BBC.

I do believe you’re going to get more people trying to open up different stores and have different ideas.

I’m still very optimistic on the HMV business and business as a whole on the High Street. I still think the High Street is just something so special.

Earlier this year Sainsbury’s said they were stopping selling CDs and DVDs because shoppers had moved online, it is not their market anyway.

Going to the record store is an experience. You remember what you buy in stores, with occasions you associate with purchasing, I bet you remember where you bought your first record or CD, what it means, I remember rushing to the record store to buy “The Happening” by the Supremes. For HMV’s PR to focus on your experience of purchasing is another winner.

The days may have gone to walking in a booth and listening to records before purchasing, but it could it come back. Nostalgia does play markets in different ways.

Professor James Knight is an international businessman, public relations practitioners and academic. He was Fellow of Bournemouth University Public Relations School, guest speaker at Judge Cambridge, Surrey, Bath and Reading, International Mentor for Oxford Brookes on Hospitality. He is a Fellow of CIPR and the Society of Public Relations of America, as well as a fellow of the Institute of Directors.

Leave a Reply