By Ben Woods, Business writer
Friday, February 8, 2013
Norfolk’s HMV stores have survived a round of swingeing cuts by administrators who have moved to close 66 of the retailer’s shops sparking 930 job losses.
Stores in the following locations will close: Ashton-under-Lyne, Ballymena, Barnsley, Bayswater, Belfast Boucher Road, Belfast Forestside, Bexleyheath, Birkenhead, Birmingham Fort, Blackburn, Boston, Bournemouth Castlepoint, Bracknell, Burton-upon-Trent,
Camberley, Chesterfield, Coleraine, Craigavon, Croydon Centrale, Derry, Dumfries, Durham, Edinburgh Fort, Edinburgh Gyle Centre, Edinburgh Ocean, Edinburgh Princes Street, Edinburgh St James, Falkirk, Fulham, Glasgow Fort, Glasgow Silverburn, Glasgow Braehead, Huddersfield, Kirkcaldy, Leamington Spa, Leeds White Rose, Lisburn, Loughborough, Luton,
Manchester, Moorgate, Newry, Newtonabbey, Orpington, Rochdale, Scunthorpe, South Shields, Speke Park, St Albans, St Helens, Stockton-on-Tees, Tamworth, Teesside Retail Park, Telford, London Trocadero, Wakefield, Walsall, Walton-on-Thames, Wandsworth, Warrington, Watford, Wellingborough, Wigan, Wood Green, Workington, Wrexham.
An announcement yesterday revealed that two Norwich stores, and one in King’s Lynn, would not be shut by Deloitte – despite increased speculation that at least one in Norwich would close to help drive-down the debts of the beleaguered retailer.
It comes after HMV, which currently has 220 UK stores, called in the administrators last month, but hopes of a rescue deal had been raised after restructuring firm Hilco bought the company’s debt.
Stefan Gurney, director of Norwich’s Business Improvement District, believes the stores on Gentleman’s Walk and in Chapelfield Shopping Centre may have been spared the axe because they are both operating at a profit – a claim Deloitte refused to comment upon.
But Adrian Fennell, partner at Roche, said it was likely that at least one of the Norwich stores would be earmarked to shut as part of a second phase of closures in the future.
Deloitte announced yesterday that 66 shops had been identified for closure as part of an ongoing review of the company’s financial position and the group still hoped to secure a future for the restructured business.
Administrator Nick Edwards said: “This step has been taken in order to enhance the prospects of securing the business’ future as a going concern.
“We continue to receive strong support from staff and are extremely grateful to them for their commitment during an understandably difficult period.”
Deloitte said the 66 shops, which employ 930 people, were all loss-making. They include five outlets in Edinburgh and three in Glasgow.
The closure plans come after the group axed nearly 190 jobs across its offices and distribution centres last month.
Staff used the company’s official Twitter account to announce their own “mass execution” with workers tweeting live about redundancies being made across HMV’s offices and distribution centres.
Mr Gurney said: “Having spoken to a Norwich HMV branch manager, I am aware they (the administrators) are going through the stores and looking at those which are profitable and those which aren’t.
“The manager at the time made me aware that both Norwich sites were profit making and being kept open.
“Norwich is a top retail destination, and too keep two stores going profitably shows nationally that we are a viable option.” Mr Fennell said: “The initial closures are part of what is likely to be a phased closure programme. Yesterday’s initial closures will be the obvious loss-making stores.
“But in the large successful cities like Norwich they maybe more cautious about closures until such time as the overall picture for HMV is clear.
“However, it is not an unrealistic assumption to suggest that one of the stores in Norwich will close in due course.”