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UK retailer HMV facing administration for second time in six years

UK retailer HMV facing administration for second time in six years

December 28, 2018 | By Chris Kerr

Entertainment retailer HMV is facing administration for the second time in six years, putting around 2,200 jobs at risk. 

The 97-year-old high street chain, which is best known for selling music, DVDs, and video games, witnessed a downturn in sales over Christmas, with the DVD sector in particular struggling to maintain momentum. 

As reported by The Guardian, the company intends to keep 125 UK stores open while it continues negotiating with suppliers and potential buyers, and has called in administrators KPMG to oversee proceedings.

Restructuring outfit Hilco previously saved HMV from administration back in 2013, but the company's executive chairman Paul McGowan has lamented the growing apathy towards the UK high street.

"During the key Christmas trading period, the market for DVDs fell by over 30 percent compared to the previous year, and while HMV performed considerably better than that, such a deterioration in a key sector of the market is unsustainable," commented McGowan. 

“HMV has clearly not been insulated from the general malaise of the UK high street and has suffered the same challenges with business rates and other government-centric policies, which have led to increased fixed costs in the business."

McGowan also explained that business rates alone represented an annual cost of £15 million ($19 million), and said the firm simply couldn't "withstand the tsunami of challenges" facing UK retailers over the past 12 months. 

Indeed, it's been a rocky year for the British high street, with the rise of online megastores like Amazon and shifting consumer habits towards streaming services like Netflix and Spotify creating a hostile environment for retail chains. 

Back in March, retail giant Toys 'R' Us shuttered all of its stores in the UK, while video game seller Grainger Games also closed all 67 of its UK stores due to a "critical financial situation."

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