A new HMV store, said to be Euope’s largest entertainment retail space, is due to open in Birmingham tomorrow with special guest appearances from Liam Payne and Beverley Knight.
Known as the hmv Vault, the store is due to open on Friday after a “multimillion-pound investment” in the new site in Dale End, close to the city centre.
It measures a massive 25,000 sq ft, will stock more than 100,000 LPs and CDs and features a custom-built stage for live performances, which Liam Payne is set to be the first to perform on.
The former One Direction star is also meeting fans and going behind the tills to get the full HMV experience as part of the opening weekend.
And Liam's opening set will be followed by a performance by fellow Wolverhampton star Beverley Knight.
Ahead of the launch, HMV owner Doug Putman said the company will return to opening new stores over the next year, just eight months after shutting a raft of high street shops after being saved from administration.
Mr Putman, who purchased the music retailer in February, said the business will pump cash into new sites and refurbishments, with live music and “local bands particularly” a core part of the strategy to increase footfall.
He said his new strategy for the company will see the “first 20ft of stores transformed” to feel less corporate, more focused and cleaner than before.
The transformation of stores comes after the new owner, who runs Canadian record store business Sunrise, closed 15 stores after taking control earlier this year.
Twenty seven stores were initially closed in February but 12 have since reopened - including the branch at Merry Hill which was back open within three weeks.
HMV was purchased in a rescue deal by the music mogul in February after it crashed into administration for the second time in five years in December 2018 when previous owner Hilco failed to make the business sufficiently profitable.
Mr Putman said he faced a “long list of issues” ranging from trying to secure new leases with landlords and improving the relationship with suppliers after he took control.
He added that “unsustainable” business rates are a particular burden on the business and called for a reduction to help high street retailers.
“You have to hope someone wakes up sooner rather than later over rates. We want to open more stores, but we need help when it comes to rates to make that possible,” Mr Putman said.
“It would be a scary thing if the high street wasn’t here. As someone from Canada I’d stress how much it should be treasured.”
Away from the high street, HMV has faced huge pressure from Amazon and other online retailers.
The company is currently running a limited service online but will launch all of its stock on its site by November 1, it said.
Mr Putman added: “We’re excited to have online back and running and it will be fully functional ready for Christmas. This is where a huge amount of the market is and we realise that.”
X Factor 2012 winner James Arthur will be performing at the hmv Vault on Saturday.