HMV takes another spin on Dublin’s high street seven years after closing

Music retailer to return with a new flagship store on Henry Street, as record store looks to take advantage of vinyl revival

HMV’s rollercoaster ride in Irish retail will restart this summer with new owners hoping it is a case of third time lucky.

The music retailer is opening a flagship store in Dublin city centre where two previous incarnations faltered in the face of rapidly changing consumer habits.

HMV are optimistic there is life in the old dog listening to his master’s gramophone yet as it returns to the Henry Street it disappeared from for what most people might have thought was the last time in 2016.

But just as vinyl records, for generations HMV’s bread and butter, have proved resilient – outselling CDs globally for the first time in 35 years in 2022 – some record stores have avoided being swamped by the digital wave in recent years. HMV is hoping to join them.


The retailer opened its first record shop on London’s Oxford Street in 1921 with British composer Sir Edward Elgar on hand to do the honours. It made its way across the Irish Sea in 1986, first to Grafton Street and then to Henry Street before expanding across the country.

By 2012, the iPod, smartphones and streaming had completely changed how music was consumed, placing HMV in serious trouble.

It shut up shop in 2013 just weeks after selling many thousands of euro worth of Christmas present vouchers which, it was feared, would be rendered suddenly worthless.

Within weeks, a resuscitation operation was launched and the company put on life support, with the Henry Street outlet among a handful reopened as the new owners agreed to honour the vouchers.

Then, in 2016, it appeared the game was up for HMV as it closed its doors again.

In 2019, Canadian record store company owner Doug Putman bought the UK business for less than €1 million having acquired the Canadian division two years earlier.

The vinyl-loving billionaire appears to have the Midas touch, with HMV’S 120 shops in the UK, including an outlet in Belfast, turning a profit last year, a remarkable turnaround by any measure.

The Dublin shop will be spread over three floors stocking 5,000 vinyl albums, 5,500 CDs as well as “over 3,000 pop culture products and 1,000 different T-shirt designs”.

Mr Putman said he hoped the Henry Street shop would become “a home for a new community of fans to come together”.

“What’s more, we hope that once we’ve got our feet back under the table in Ireland, further HMV shop openings will follow,” he said.

Conor Pope

Conor Pope

Conor Pope is Consumer Affairs Correspondent, Pricewatch Editor and cohost of the In the News podcast

Laura Slattery

Laura Slattery

Laura Slattery is an Irish Times journalist writing about media, advertising and other business topics