Published: 05:00, 19 January 2022
| Updated: 14:48, 19 January 2022
A major HMV music and film store which opened in 1999 is to close today (Wednesday) as the business relocates to smaller premises.
The branch in Whitefriars shopping centre in Canterbury has survived previous closures by the company, which was bought out of administration in 2018.
But now bosses have decided to downsize the store and will be relocating it to a former Monsoon and adjoining Accessorize unit in the same shopping centre.
In the last decade, the business has been hit hard by the surge in download and streaming services but has also grown sales of increasingly popular vinyl records which it has dedicated more space to.
It also stocks a variety of music, pop culture and film merchandise.
HMV (His Master's Voice) spokesman Simon Winter says the new shop, which is due to open at the end of February, will offer 4,000 sq ft as opposed to the existing 6,000 sq ft over two floors.
"The move represents a great opportunity to bring customers a new HMV offering set out across a single floor, which will greatly improve access and allow customers to quickly find what they need," he said.
"All staff from the existing store will move across to the new location, and store manager Neil Bedwell is confident that customers will love the new and improved offering, which will cater for all the fans of music, film and pop culture better than ever."
Whitefriars bosses say a major furniture retailer, yet to be formally named, is negotiating to take on the lease of the HMV site.
Westwood Cross' HMV closed in 2020 and there are three other branches in Kent - Maidstone, Bluewater and Tunbridge Wells.
HMV was saved from administration by Canadian company Sunrise Records in 2019 but unexpectedly shut several branches the following year due to "extortionate" business rates.
The chain had previously entered administration in 2013 but was bought by Hilco UK months later.