Exclusive – PMT to open first central London store
PMT is set to open its long-awaited first central London store, Simon Gilson has confirmed exclusively to Music Instrument News. The fast-growing retail chain has been eyeing expansion in the Capital for several years but has been frustrated in its attempt to find suitable premises. The new 4,000 square feet store will be situated in the shadow of the Shard, directly opposite the entrance to Smithfield Market.
‘We have wanted a store in central London as part of our overall strategy to never be more than around 45 minutes maximum travel time from a PMT store in the inhabited parts of the UK,’ Gilson told MIN. ‘We have spent a great deal of effort and money over the last five or years trying to find the perfect site in the right location. Twice we almost achieved the impossible dream, only to be dashed at the last hurdle.
‘As we all know, landlords’ rent expectations combined with the stupidity of local authorities make any location difficult but London is just a huge multiple of these problems’.
PMT’s owners Gilson and Terry Hope had originally wanted a major store, along the lines of PMT Birmingham, but eventually decided the search for suitable premises had become ‘hopeless’.
‘We decided to change our project strategy,’ Gilson explains. ‘We normally look at 8,000 square feet being a minimum footprint for a viable store to contain our style of retailing but it’s been clear for some time that this was just not going to happen.
‘Even cutting this requirement in half has proved incredibly difficult to achieve but at last we believe we have found the best it can be’.
PMT’s revised strategy is to open several smaller stores in central London. Asked about the buying demographic in that area, Gilson says he is confident that the business is there.
‘We have an awful lot of online business from that zone and there is also a massive population that floods in and out every day that is fairly wealthy. We have a lot of data at our fingertips these days and we know the kind of person that shops with PMT, the type of jobs they do and their expectations or a retail environment and it is just not the kind of central London music store people were familiar with decades ago. So what we have will be will be a proper PMT store but very focused.
‘Bricks and mortar retail is our industry,’ Gilson affirms. ‘We continue to invest in it. We continue to have faith in it. Yes, we have spent a lot of money on our online presence in the past few years but it is still the retail stores that drive this business’.
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