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HMV warns of store closures as negotiations over ‘extortionate business rates’ take place

HMV has detailed its intentions to close three of its stores by the end of January as the retailer enters negotiations with landlords across ten of its locations, citing the impossibility of contending with “extortionate business rates.”

The music and entertainment specialist has admitted that such are current business rates, it has left the operation of certain locations among its chain of high street outlets, ‘no longer viable.’

HMV confirmed that stores in Bury St Edmund’s, Fopp Glasgow Byres Rd, and Nuneaton will close by the end of the month. The retailer also plans to relocate branches in Lincoln and Plymouth with new stores opening in the cities at the beginning of February.

In response to reports of more closures, HMV has said there are now 10 stores in which negotiations with landlords are taking place. The retailer maintains, however, that it is hopeful of securing nw deals.

“These stores are due to close later this month unless new deals can be agreed,” HMV said in a released statement. “The closures are no reflection on our superb staff and 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. At present, there are negotiations with landlords over our locations in Birmingham Bullring (this does not impact The HMV Vault opened in Birmingham in October), Leeds Headrow (we opened a new store in St John’s Centre), Bristol Cribbs, Edinburgh Ocean Terminal, Glasgow Braehead, Grimsby, Merryhill, Reading, Sheffield Meadowhall and Worcester.”

In February last year, HMV was sold Sunrise Records & Entertainment Limited, a Canadian music company owned by Doug Putman. The firm acquired 100 stores across the UK, transferring some 1,487 store and head office employees as part of the rescue bid.

About Robert Hutchins

Robert Hutchins is the editor of Licensing.biz and ToyNews. Hutchins has worked his way up from Staff Writer to the position of Editor across the two titles, having spent some six years with both ToyNews and Licensing.biz, and what now seems like a lifetime surrounded by toys. You can contact him by emailing robert.hutchins@bizmedia.co.uk or calling him on 0203 143 8780 You can even follow him on Twitter @RobHutchins3 if ranting is your thing...

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