HMV has named 10 stores that could close at the end of the month.
The music retailer has confirmed that the shops will go unless it can renegotiate rents.
In a statement, HMV said: “There are currently 10 stores where negotiations with landlords are ongoing and we are hopeful of securing new deals. These stores are due to close later this month unless new deals can be agreed.
“The closures are no reflection on our superb staff, but where we are not able to come to a new agreement or relocate staff within the business elsewhere, unfortunately this does mean some of our staff will lose their jobs. Landlords are working hard with us to try to come to agreements, however in some cases the extortionate business rates just mean that certain locations are no longer viable.”
The 10 stores are: Birmingham Bullring, Leeds Headrow, Bristol Cribbs, Edinburgh Ocean Terminal, Glasgow Braehead, Grimsby, Merryhill, Reading, Sheffield Meadowhall and Worcester.
In Leeds, a new store has opened in St John’s Centre. In Birmingham, the HMV Vault opened in October.
HMV has also confirmed that three stores – Bury St Edmunds, Nuneaton and Fopp Glasgow Byres Road – will be closing at the end of January as new tenants are moving into the properties. HMV stores in Lincoln and Plymouth are relocating at the beginning of February.
The statement follows speculation from HMV customers on social media about the future of stores. It is almost a year since the flagship Oxford Street branch was closed due to high rents, following the chain’s acquisition from administrators.
In some cases the extortionate business rates just mean that certain locations are no longer viable
The move to renegotiate rents, and possibly shutter stores, suggests that new owner Doug Putman is keeping a close eye on costs and wants to avoid any repeat of the previous scenario, where branches burdened with high costs were a drag on the rest of the group.
HMV’s former owner made the case against crippling business rates when it went into administraton. The retail chain is unlikely to benefit from a new government discount for business rates targeting smaller premises.
Music industry sources suggested that there was no wider concern about HMV closures, and that the renegotiations are a continuation of the approach by Putman to bring down costs.
While early signs are that physical music had a difficult Q4, HMV has been boosted by its expansion of vinyl catalogue in stores.
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