HMV to open cinemas and cafe-bars above its stores

MUSIC store HMV is diversifying its business by opening cinemas and cafe-bars above its stores.

The move is being piloted in Britain and the company said that if this proves successful it will role the concept out to other stores.

The first 200-seater, three-screen cinema will open in Wimbledon, London, in autumn. It will be kitted out with luxury seats and an area selling films.

As well as showing new releases the cinemas, which will open at 9am, will screen films for local schools and could beam live music events from concert venues.

Access to the cinema will be through the HMV store during the day and there will be a separate entrance in the evenings.

HMV has formed a partnership with British cinema chain Curzon Artificial Eye to operate the venture.

HMV spokesman Gennaro Castaldo said: “Obviously, it if proves successful, as we hope and believe it will, we can consider rolling the concept to other appropriate HMV stores in the chain, and it’s possible some of our larger stores could be considered — although it’s still very early days and I’d say that such a prospect is quite a long way off right now.”

The move is part of an effort by HMV to diversify away from selling CDs and DVDs.

The cinema venture allows HMV to utilise unused space.

HMV recently agreed to buy five Zavvi stores in Ireland. The company already has nine stores here.

HMV Ireland’s sales rose by 8% to €74m to April 26, 2008 compared with €68.5m the previous year.

The British-owned retail giant sells CDs, DVDs, games and books.

The company also owns Waterstones book stores.

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