British pop culture chain HMV is coming to Belgium, opening its first store on the European Continent in Wijnegem (Antwerp) on 23 November. The chain’s first store outside of the British Isles signals the start of a wider European expansion.
More shops to follow
HMV has more than 120 shops in the United Kingdom, and opened an Irish flagship store in Dublin earlier this year. Now the retailer is also coming to mainland Europe: on 23 November, a 300 sqm store will open in the Wijnegem Shopping Centre, near Antwerp. Shoppers will find 10,000 different products there, including 2,500 vinyl albums, 3,500 CDs, 3,500 merchandising products from Funko, Loungefly, Anime, Marvel, Star Wars, DC, in addition to graphic novels and more than 300 T-shirt designs.
Owner Doug Putman said in a press release he believes there is a huge market for HMV’s offering in Europe: “Having developed and refined our offering over the past twelve months, we feel ready to become the next big UK export, delivering our pop culture-meets-music proposition to a wider audience.” He announced that more shops will follow, both in Belgium and abroad.
Founded in 1921 as His Master’s Voice, the British chain has grown to become the largest music retailer in the UK, accounting for more than half of all vinyl sales in the country. In addition, HMV says it sells a wider range of music merchandise and music technology than any other retailer.
The company was saved from bankruptcy in 2019 by Sunrise Records owner Doug Putman, who has big plans for his new acquisition. Soon, the retailer will also reopen its iconic shop on Oxford Street in London, after a four-year absence. It was one of 27 shops the new owner closed after taking over in 2019: the well-known building housed an American sweet shop in recent years.