4,000 jobs at risk as HMV loses its battle for survival
TALKS were being held last night to try to secure a future for Britain's last major music and entertainment chain.
HMV, which has stores in the Potteries Shopping Centre and Stafford, collapsed into administration on Monday night after suffering poor Christmas sales.
The group's 4,500 staff now face an uncertain future.
Trevor Moore, chief executive of HMV, insisted there was a place for the company on the high street.
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The company appointed Deloitte as administrators yesterday, marking the latest in a run of high-profile retail collapses following the demise of camera chain Jessops and electrical group Comet.
Ian Gadsby, manager of independent music shop Music Mania, in Piccadilly, Hanley, said: "The problem with HMV was that it forgot it sold music. A lot has been blamed on its late entry to the online market but HMV's biggest problem was it decided to move into gadgets, telephones, hardware and the like."
While it did not reveal its festive performance, HMV said sale declines remained around the 10.2 per cent level seen in the half year to October 26.
It admitted Christmas sales had been disappointing after its failure to secure the supply of two key tablet computers.
Mr Gadsby added: "I feel very sorry for the staff who are going to lose their jobs. "In the late 1980s and 1990s, HMV was very aggressive in the way it competed on the high street against independent record shops and some shops did close down.
"But the possible closure of HMV also has a knock-on effect for shops like us as it brings people into Hanley, and if they can't find what they want at HMV they often come down to see us."
Ian believes Music Mania is still surviving because it sticks to its core industry and responds to demand. It has even seen a revival in its LP sales.
All of HMV's 239 outlets – including nine Fopp stores – will remain open while Deloitte attempts to find a buyer although closures are expected.
Online orders will also continue to be fulfilled.
Mr Moore – who also previously headed up failed retailer Jessops – said: "We remain convinced we can find a successful business outcome."
PricewaterhouseCoopers, which was appointed to Jessops last Wednesday, announced it was shutting the camera chain's 187 stores, including a branch at the Potteries Shopping Centre.
Doug Wardle, chairman of the City Centre Partnership, said: "These are big retail units and it may not be easy to fill them. I don't think the high street will die completely but I it may have to be reshaped. That's the challenge."