HMV is gearing up to open its first motorway service station store next month.

The entertainment retailer will become the first music specialist to open on the roads network with its 1,000 sq ft shop at Stop 24 on the M20, near Dover.

HMV is the latest retailer to lay claim to a share of the forecourt retail market, which grew in value from£3.26 billion in 2000 to an estimated£4.25 billion in 2006, according to Mintel.

Food groups such as Marks & Spencer and Somerfield have accelerated into the market in recent years. With the exception of WHSmith, which last week tied up a 29-location deal with RoadChef, generalists have been slower to move into the sector.

HMV property director Mark Bowles said: “This is a really interesting opportunity. Our travel outlets in airport terminals and train stations all trade successfully, so it’s evident there is an appetite for purchasing music, films and games on the go.”

He said that, if the store meets expectations, HMV will consider opening more motorway shops.

Motorway service stations have high footfall, but suffer from an “unprofessional” approach to retailing and represent an opportunity, retail consultant Richard Hyman maintained.

He said: “There is no reason for there not to be general merchandise in service stations. It has been a focus for development for retailers abroad for years.”

HMV’s store opens on April 15 and will adopt the next-generation model pioneered at Merry Hill in Dudley. It will carry chart, catalogue and promoted titles across CD, DVD and games.