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UK BUSINESS NEWS

HMV commits to high street with plans for 10 new stores

HMV has said it plans to put its faith in the UK high street by opening 10 more stores this year.

The boss of the entertainment retailer said it will seek to incorporate more live music into its stores as part of its investment into bricks and mortar sites.

The company, which opened its first store on Oxford Street in 1921, said Ed Sheeran will perform a centenary concert at the HMV Empire site in Coventry to 700 customers in August.

Doug Putman, the Canadian retail boss who bought the business in 2019, said the move was not a “reversal” of HMV’s decision to exit the music venue sector in 2012.

He told the PA news agency: “The music venue business didn’t perform particularly well so we aren’t doing the same thing again – this is more of a shop hybrid and won’t be the same for every shop.

“We have a really enthusiastic core of customers and we know that they want to see investment in the store experience.”

HMV added that the loosening of pandemic restrictions has allowed it to restore a programme of live in-store events and signings, featuring acts such as KSI, Laura Mvula and Anne-Marie.

The retailer currently operates more than 100 stores across the UK and has plans to open 10 more sites, including a site in Solihull.

Mr Putman added that the company is actively looking to open a new flagship London site, having closed its Oxford Street store after tumbling into administration in 2019 before the rescue deal by the Canadian retail executive.

“In an ideal world, we would have a new London flagship store and we are trying hard to make that happen,” he told PA.

“It’s a slightly strange situation now with Covid. There are definitely vacancies and opportunities but any new opening has to be the right location.

“There are also issues with full business rates returning and the potential for any further pandemic restrictions so we have to keep on our toes.”

The company said it has seen “strong footfall” since reopening stores in April, following the easing of restrictions.

SOURCE: INDEPENDENT 

Rishi Sunak: 'Britcoin' will not replace cash

Rishi Sunak has hosed down any suggestion that the government could replace cash with a digital currency dubbed “Britcoin”.

Sunak said in a LinkedIn post that the government has “not yet made a decision on whether to introduce a [Central Bank Digital Currency] in the UK”, after reports over the weekend suggested the chancellor wants to introduce the new currency.

The post-Brexit Taskforce on Innovation, Growth and Regulatory Reform (TIGRR) review led by Sir Iain Duncan Smith recently called for a digital pound pilot.

The government also launched a taskforce into the issue in April.

The Mail reported that Sunak was on board with the TIGGR review and that the Treasury was interested in examining the idea.

SOURCE: CITY AM

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