Back in the day, a trip to Oxford Street meant trying on all of the clothes in Big Topshop and a spot of window shopping in House of Fraser. Thanks to the rise of online shopping and fewer people working in central London, things are now looking very different.
Many of the OG flagship stores have closed down, replaced with shops selling vapes, souvenirs and an excessive selection of phone cases. Now, in what could be the nail in the coffin for old-school Oxford Street retail, the original ‘His Master’s Voice’ sign and logo on HMV’s iconic flagship store has been completely covered over. Only the vertical HMV sign remains.
In February, the ‘Voice’ part of the sign was hidden to read ‘His Master’s American Candy’ – but as of Friday, March 25, work started to the original sign to completely cover it up with black cladding. It’s now been decorated with United States flags, an image of the Statue of Liberty holding a lollipop and chocolate bar, and the words ‘Candy World’. Damn.
That’s right: a huge sweet shop has opened up in the space, and it’s not the only one in the area. The capital is now full of American candy stores – a phenomenon that Time Out investigated in June last year, confirming that there’s at least one sweet shop every 250 metres in central London.
People have commented on the change to the former HMV storefront on social media. One user tweeted: ‘It’s beyond a joke now on Oxford Street – there’s at least one of them every block. Why isn’t anyone doing anything about it?’
Another user commented: ‘I'm not convinced that these [candy shops] aren’t money-laundering fronts of some kind. Between the insane prices and extremely loud music they play in there, it's as if they don’t actually want you to buy any of their stock.’ Even ‘Last Night in Soho’ director Edgar Wright has tweeted about the issue.
The HMV flagship store opened in 1921 and remained on Oxford Street until the company went into administration in 2019, when it confirmed the shop’s closure.