HMV to open 15 stores in the Middle East

The high street music and entertainment chain is planning stores for Qatar, Kuwait, the United Arab Emirates and more

HMV has announced plans to expand into the Middle East. The company will open 15 stores in the region.

The expansion is being planned by HMV owners Hilco. The restructuring company saved the high street music and entertainment chain in January 2013 when it went into administration with an estimated £176m debt, with 223 shops and more than 4,000 jobs put at risk.

As reported by Music Week, Hilco has now struck a deal with Qatar based company Al Mana Lifestyle, who operate over 300 retail outlets across the region.

Al Mana Lifestyle will open HMV stores in Qatar, Bahrain, Kuwait, Oman and the United Arab Emirates. The company is also seeking additional licensing partners to develop shops in Egypt, Algeria, Tunisia and Morocco.

Following Hilco’s acquisition, HMV went on to report profits of nearly £17 million during 2013. Earlier this year, it was announced that the company has overtaken Amazon to become Britain’s most successful retailer of physical music.


HMV recently outlined plans to focus on the vinyl format in light of their recent financial recovering. HMV music manager John Hirst told Music Week that the company is intent on “taking vinyl back to the masses”.

“The [independent stores] still do an incredible job with vinyl,” Hirst said. “Their share reflects that. But what we do, which the indies don’t, is provide that consistently over 120 different locations all across the country. We’ve got to be the number one destination for vinyl on the High Street. While the indies are catering to more specialist customers, we’re taking vinyl back to the masses.”

HMV recently announced a list of exclusive vinyl releases available at their stores nationwide, including records from Morrissey, Nirvana, Royal Blood, The Velvet Underground, Black Sabbath, Joni Mitchell and The Charlatans.

Hirst spoke about the reasons behind the releases: “Last year, outside of Christmas, Father’s Day week was our biggest week on vinyl. We’ve identified that week as an opportunity to really go for it and we wanted to distance ourselves from Record Store Day so that it didn’t seem like a response to not being a part of it.

“It is really about us raising awareness that we’ve got vinyl in our stores again, that we’re priced competitively and that the availability is good,” he said.