Monday 4 February 2013, 12:34 | By Chris Cooke
HMV store closures expected this week
HMV administrator Deloitte is expected to announce the closure of 60-100 of the flagging entertainment retailer’s stores this week as talks with possible buyers for the retail firm continue.
Following the axing of 190 jobs in HMV’s HQ and distribution operation last week, and the closure of the HMV.com online operation, cuts could hit the frontline any day now. It’s been assumed ever since HMV went into administration last month that the best case scenario was a streamlined version of the entertainment retail company coming out the other end, with a store network consisting of no more than half the current 230 shops. An announcement this week could be the start of that downsizing process.
It’s thought the list of stores facing the axe is still being finalised but up to 1500 jobs could go. Restructuring specialist Hilco, which now controls much of HMV’s debts, is still favourite to acquire the company in a streamlined form, so its interests store wise will be key in the decision making process here. Which units rival retailers have expressed an interest in acquiring will also presumably have an influence. Each identified shop will stay open for the duration of a closing down sale, before shutting for the final time.
It’s thought the store axing will include one of HMV’s Central London bases. Administrators will have to decide whether to close the firm’s flagship store on Oxford Street or it shop in nearby Piccadilly Circus. The former is much more profitable, but demand from elsewhere in the retail sector will be much higher for the Oxford Street building.