Britain's lone major entertainment retailer, HMV, has become the nation's latest high street causality, entering administration last night in a desperate bid to revive its flagging fortunes.
Accounting firm Deloitte is set to handle the company's affairs as it seeks to restructure its operations and secure its future, with analysts predicting a move to a business model featuring fewer, smaller stores.
Voucher redemptions and product returns have been put on hold indefinitely and HMV has suspended trading on the London Stock Exchange. Its 230 stores are expected to stay open while the administrators look to arrange a rescue deal, but up to 4,500 jobs are thought to be at risk due to inevitable store closures.
"The Directors of the Company understand that it is the intention of the administrators, once appointed, to continue to trade whilst they seek a purchaser for the business," HMV said in a statement.
Like fellow high street retailer GAME, which nearly collapsed in 2012, HMV has suffered from the 'Amazon effect' as consumers increasingly fulfil their shopping needs online.
In an ironic and bitter twist of fate, HMV is currently headed up by Trevor Moore – until last August, the CEO of recently collapsed photographic retailer Jessops.
Last week, Jessops became the UK economy's first sacrificial lamb of 2013, entering administration under PricewaterhouseCoopers, who swiftly ordered the closure of the specialist chain's 200-odd retail outlets.
The British Video Association, for one, is hopeful that HMV can avoid a similar fate.
"The BVA sincerely hopes that while in administration the value of this important retailer can be realised so that a re-structure will enable the best performing stores to continue trading and maintain consumer choice and access on the high street," the BVA said in a statement.
In the immediate future, cut-throat bargain hunters will want to take note of HMV's ongoing "blue cross sale," which sees thousands of products discounted by 25 per cent.
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