Hilco Capital has issued a response to the rumoured closure of HMV’s flagship Oxford Street store.
Speculation began to circulate after Property Week reported that the iconic London store was set to close its doors after 96 years on Oxford Street. According to PW, the store’s Hong Kong-based landlord – Glory Step Investments – had begun negotiations with property agent Savills to surrender the lease.
However, Hilco today offered Music Week the following carefully worded response:
“While we don’t usually comment on individual stores, there is no agreement in place to close the Oxford Street store. The HMV portfolio is constantly evolving in order to ensure it best suits the strategy of the business and there are at least two new store openings taking place this year, with more likely to follow.”
Savills has yet to respond to Music Week requests for comment.
While Hilco's statement outlines the fact that there is no "agreement in place", it fails to refute the claims that negotiations are taking place.
Last week, HMV Canada, which is also owned by Hilco Capital but operates as a completely separate company to the UK operation, announced that it would be closing all 102 of its nationwide stores.
The struggling retailer was put into receivership by the Ontario Superior Court on Friday, with the majority of its senior staff laid off as a result. As of December 31 2016, the company owes suppliers, including record labels and studios around $56 million, according to the Financial Post.
“The company and major suppliers were unable to reach an agreement, on mutually acceptable terms to sustain HMV’s operations and support a recovery,” said a court filing.
Stores will remain open for the next few week in order to liquidate stock.
A court filing revealed that HMV Canada’s sales dropped to $214.4m in 2015 from $225m the previous year. Those sales, said the FP, are expected to fall to $190m for fiscal 2016.
The company had assets of $63.9m and liabilities of $131.8m as of November 30 2016.
HMV UK declined to comment on its Canadian counterpart.