HMV, a 91-year-old retailer of music, film and games on the UK high street, is set to fade into financial oblivion, having failed to counter the rise of online shopping. The 239-store chain has confirmed it will appoint accountancy firm Deloitte as its financial administrator, to determine how best to dispose of its assets. The company's stores won't be closed up until a determination of their future is made, but HMV has said it will not be accepting any gift cards as payment, nor will it be issuing new ones.
The demise of HMV, a longtime mainstay on UK high streets that started its life with a store on the world famous Oxford Street back in 1921, is the latest in a string of big-name collapses in recent times. From Best Buy's costly failure to enter the UK retail market, through Comet and Jessops' recent closures of vast retail chains, the UK electronics industry is undergoing a painful process of transition toward online retail.
More than 4,000 jobs, 200 stores, and 90 years of history at risk of being lost
Trading in shares of HMV has been suspended for the time being, with the expected outcome from the administration process being a sale of the whole company to a specialist restructuring outfit that would then go about trimming down its losses in a Gordon Gekko-like fashion. That could still be a better scenario, however, for the 4,000-plus employees whose jobs are currently at risk of being lost outright if Deloitte is not able to find a suitable buyer.