ONE year on from its darkest hour, an iconic entertainment retailer is going from strength to strength on Worcester's High Street.

HMV fell into administration on January 15 last year but the city centre store seems to have battled back from the point of no return by using the threat of closure to improve their offering.

The retail chain was saved in April by restructuring firm Hilco, who bought 141 stores and secured about 2,500 jobs.

Store supervisor, Emma Laidler, said: "The uncertainty and threat of closure from last year has inspired us to make the store the best we can and a large part of doing this was to listen to what our customers want.

"And it appears they want us to focus on going back to our original purpose - being a music and film specialist.

"Since being bought out we have acted on this and our range has now improved massively, we're stocking more underground bands and obscure films and also a really deep catalogue from classic artists."

Miss Laidler added: "Things are looking up now, staffing levels are good and there's money going through the tills. We're focused on creating a buzz in store with staff recommendations and reviews and also getting involved with the local music scene.

"We had in store performers last year as part of the Worcester music festival and this is something we are excited to build on this. The bad patch of last year, as awful as it was at the time, I think has really helped change the company for the better. "

One shopper, Jeremy Kenny, of Malvern, said: "It's not quite the same doing it online. It is one of the shops where you can browse without worrying too much and there's a lot to see."

With the store currently holding its January sale, David Harris, of Alcester, said he uses it to take advantage of the special offers and deals.

The first ever HMV store in London's Oxford Street was opened by Worcestershire's favourite son Edward Elgar in 1921, while the Worcester branch has been at its present location since 1996 after moving from a different part of the High Street.

It was opened by Page 3 girl and pop star Samantha Fox.

At the time of going into administration the chain had 238 outlets and employed more than 4,000 people.