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HMV and Debenhams to close high street stores

by ace
HMV is closing down stores in the coming weeks. File pic

HMV and Debenhams have become the last major retailers to announce that they are closing stores on UK streets.

Music retailer HMV has confirmed that three of its stores will close later this month, with new tenants already lined up to enter the properties.

The company warned of job losses and the closure of up to 10 stores by the end of this month, unless it can secure new deals with its owners.

Debenhams department store chain, which went into administration in April 2019 to reduce its debt, said it should close 19 stores between January 11 and 25.

28 more are scheduled to close in 2021.

Debenhams CEO Stefaan Vansteenkiste said in a statement: "We are working hard to implement the Debenhams transformation.

"Despite a challenging retail environment, thanks to the hard work of our colleagues and the commitment of our investor group, we are making progress with our recovery."

Image:
Debenhams said it is closing 19 of its stores

HMV said in a statement that some of its stores were no longer viable due to "extortionate" business rates in certain locations.

The retailer said its three stores that will close in late January are HMV Bury St Edmunds, Fopp Glasgow on Byres Road and HMV Nuneaton.

The company said it was also moving to Lincoln and Plymouth, with new stores opening in both cities in early February.

An HMV spokesman said: "There are currently 10 stores where negotiations with owners are underway and we hope to secure new deals.

"The closures do not reflect our excellent staff and where we cannot reach a new contract or relocate staff within the company elsewhere, unfortunately that means some of our employees will lose their jobs."

The 10 shops subject to negotiation are at Birmingham Bullring, Leeds Headrow, Bristol Cribbs, Edinburgh Ocean Terminal, Glasgow Braehead, Grimsby, Merryhill, Reading, Sheffield Meadowhall and Worcester.

The company said the HMV Vault, which opened in Birmingham last October, and its store at St John's Mall in Leeds will not be affected.

HMV was bought into a bailout deal by music mogul Doug Putman in February 2019 after colliding with management for the second time in five years in December 2018.

Putman, who runs Canadian retailer Sunrise Records, closed 15 stores after taking control of the deal.

The closures of HMV and Debenhams occur during a difficult period for British main streets, with names known as Maplin, Toys R Us and Poundworld being closed.

The 19 Debenhams stores that are supposed to close this month are:

  • Altrincham, Greater Manchester – January 11
  • Birmingham The Fort – January, exact date not confirmed
  • Kirkcaldy, Fife – January 11
  • Walton-on-Thames, Surrey – January 11
  • Wandsworth, London – January 11
  • Wolverhampton – January 11
  • Chatham, Kent – January 15
  • Great Yarmouth, Norfolk – January 15
  • Slough, Berkshire – January 15
  • Stockton-on-Tees, Co. Durham – January 15
  • Welwyn, Herfordshire – January 15
  • Witney, Oxfordshire – January 15
  • Ashford, Kent – January 19
  • Canterbury, Kent – January 19
  • Eastbourne, East Sussex – January 19
  • Folkestone, Kent – January 19
  • Southport, Merseyside – January 19
  • Southsea, Portsmouth – January 19
  • Wimbledon, London – January 19

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