Property Week has reported that HMV is to close its flagship store on Oxford Street after the building’s landlords have allegedly commenced negotiations to surrender the lease through agents at Savills.
However, MCV has learned that there is "no agreement in place" to close the Oxford Street store, according to HMV’s head of technology and games Phil Browes.
In a statement provided to MCV, Browes said: "While we don’t usually comment on individual stores, there is no agreement in place to close the Oxford Street store.
"Thehmvportfolio is constantly evolving in order to ensure it best suits the strategy of the business and there are at least two new store openings taking place this year, with more likely to follow."
That doesn’t mean that the store won’t eventually close further down the line, of course, but if the retailer were to vacate its spot on Oxford Street, then it would be the first time in 96 years that it hasn’t had a place on London’s prime shopping street.
In 2013, HMV moved back into its original unit at 363 Oxford Street after down-sizing from its larger store at 150 Oxford Street, where it moved to in 1986. 2013 was also the year HMV fell into administration, before being rescued by restructuring firm Hilco Capital. In April 2013, Hilco signed a 50m deal to save 141 of the 230 HMV stores across the UK, including nine Fopp outlets.
Since then, HMV’s seen an impressive recovery, beating Amazon as the leading physical entertainment seller in the UK last year according to Kantar Worldpanel. In 2016, HMV attracted 41,000 new customers and grew its share of the physical entertainment market by 3.1 per cent.
However, while HMV managed to reclaim its crown as the UK’s biggest music retailer last year, its gaming sector continues to struggle, with Kantar saying GAME remains the firm market leader.