HMV has reopened all 93 of its stores across England and Wales as Covid restrictions are eased on non-essential retail.
Physical sales have held up as HMV and indie retailers moved operations online, but there are hopes for a boost to the market this week. Last week, physical sales accounted for 16.3% of the albums market, according to Official Charts Company data.
Doug Putman, owner of HMV, said: “The British High Street has had a tough start to 2021, but as the country slowly gets back to normal, we’re confident that shoppers will return to supporting physical retail.
“For millions of customers, browsing in-store is something that can’t be replaced, and we’ve put measures in place across the estate to ensure that they can take their time discovering our massive range of entertainment and merchandise while social distancing. We’re expecting people to purchase some of the incredible new releases we’ve seen during the latest lockdown.”
The entertainment chain is celebrating its 100th anniversary this year.
“This year marks HMV’s 100th birthday, and we’re setting ourselves up to be here for the next 100 years,” said Putman. “Over the coming months, customers will start to see exclusive new merchandise and special editions arrive in their local HMV stores.”
HMV and Fopp stores are re-opening with a series of measures to both personalise the shopping experience and ensure stores are Covid-secure for customers.
The HMV List and Leave service enables customers to drop off a list of the items they wish to purchase (whether Blu-ray or DVDs, vinyl, CDs, books or merchandise) and a member of the store team will select the items from the shelves and have goods collected, packed and ready for collection.
The HMV Ring and Reserve service allows customers to call their local store to reserve in-stock items to be paid for and picked up later that day. The HMV and Fopp team members will also suggest recommendations based on customers’ tastes to make for a truly tailored experience.
Staff across the business have undertaken training in how to maintain social distancing for customers while they are in the store, as well as instruction on hygiene, the use of PPE equipment and till processes that will shorten queues and make for a more efficient in-store experience. Till screens and social distancing signage have been installed across the whole estate, and hand sanitiser will be available for all to use before handling products.
The music retailer already offers a click and collect service across all of its stores for those who want to select and pay for their items online and pick-up at their local store. Customers can pay online, select a store to collect from and will receive an email when their goods are ready for collection.
Any undamaged returned items will be quarantined for 72 hours before being they are returned to the shop floor.
In addition to the personal shopping services, HMV has put in place a number of measures, including:
- Social distancing measures throughout each store, with clear two-metre floor markings
- Personalised service with a limit on the number of customers in-store at any one time
- Appropriate PPE equipment will be made available for all colleagues in line with government guidelines
- Screens at all open service areas
- Enhanced cleaning processes across stores
HMV and Fopp stores across Scotland and Northern Ireland will reopen in line with their respective governments’ roadmaps.
Click here to read ERA’s Kim Bayley on the return of retail.