BLACKBURN MP Jack Straw will tomorrow visit staff at the town’s threatened HMV store after he described the possible closure of the national music and DVD chain as ‘a tragedy’.
Yesterday the 92-year-old firm appointed accountants Deloitte as administrator, making it the latest potential casualty on the High Street and putting about 4,350 jobs at risk including nine at its outlet in The Mall.
Deloitte will keep HMV’s 239 stores in the UK and Ireland open while seeks potential buyers. Trading in HMV shares on the London Stock Exchange has been suspended.
The Blackburn store was open yesterday with signs in the windows saying it was no longer accepting gift vouchers while advertising a ‘25 per cent off’ sale on thousands of items.
HMV closed its store in Charter Walk Burnley, opened in October 2009, 12 months ago.
Mr Straw said: “I shall be going to the Blackburn store and meeting staff there tomorrow. I hope it can be salvaged. I know it is very well used and is a very important part of life in the town.
“If it does close, I am confident it will be replaced. The Mall is buoyant.
“If HMV, and its Blackburn store, close it will be tragedy that staff and customers suffer because of poor decisions taken by management a decade ago.”
Tory planning spokesman on the council Alan Cottam said: “This is very sad news about HMV. They are a victim of changing shopping habits.”
Loraine Jones, general manager at The Mall, Blackburn, said: “We understand the appointed administrators are currently exploring opportunities for the brand. HMV is continuing to trade as normal.”
The retailer, whose first store was opened in 1921, has faced intense competition from online retailers, digital downloads and supermarkets.
HMV boss Trevor Moore said: “We remain convinced we can find a successful business outcome.
“The intention is to continue to trade the stores.”
Mr Moore said that trading over Christmas had been disappointing, particularly in technology products. Mr Moore added: “There are likely to be very many options for this business in the coming days.”
- The threat to HMV follows the closure of the Bru Station coffee bar on the first floor of the Mall in November last year.
A high street legend
- The HMV chain was founded in 1921 with the arrival of its landmark store in Oxford Street.
- It was opened on July 20 that year by the composer and conductor Sir Edward Elgar.
- The company became known for its ‘His Master’s Voice’ trademark, the name relating to an 1898 painting of a dog called Nipper listening to a gramophone.
- Tragedy struck at the HMV store and offices in Oxford Street on December 26, 1937 when the shop’s caretaker William Travis died in a fire which destroyed the building.
- During the Second World War, the Oxford Street store stayed open for business while parent company EMI’s record factory at Hayes, west London, was used for munitions manufacturing.
- The Waterstones book chain became part of the HMV stable in 1998 but was sold off in 2011 as the troubled music chain attempted to get its finances in order.