HMV chain calls in administrators

HMVEntertainment store HMV has become the latest high street casualty as it announced it had been forced to call in administrators.

Following discussions among the music retailer's directors, the company released a statement announcing it was ceasing trading in ordinary shares immediately - and had appointed accountancy giant Deloitte.
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HMV, which employs more than 4,000 people, said in a statement: "The board regrets to announce that it has been unable to reach a position where it feels able to continue to trade outside of insolvency protection, and in the circumstances therefore intends to file notice to appoint administrators to the company and certain of its subsidiaries with immediate effect. 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."

In the run-up to Christmas HMV's boss Trevor Moore warned the entertainment group was in trouble as he revealed the chain was in talks with banks over its future following worse-than-expected trading over the festive period. The chief executive said market conditions suggested the group, which has 238 stores in the UK and Ireland, would fail to meet expectations for the year to April, so would not meet the terms of its bank loans.

HMV said like-for-like sales fell 10.2% in the 26 weeks to October 27, last year, as its pre-tax loss narrowed to £36.1 million, compared to £50.1 million the previous year. Shares tumbled 39% after the dismal results were published, giving the retailer a market value of just £10.1 million.

Mr Moore joined the group from camera chain Jessops, which itself went into administration last week at the cost of 1,370 jobs across its 187 stores.

Suppliers including Universal Music came to HMV's rescue in January 2011 with a deal which helped the retailer shed some of its huge debt pile.

Its struggle has seen it sell off several parts of its business, including the Waterstones book retailer, to reduce its debt pile, while closing loss-making stores.

HMV also offloaded its Hammersmith Apollo venue for £32 million, which enabled it to thrash out a new deal with lenders.
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HMV chain calls in administrators

Administrators sounded the death knell for Woolworths in December 2008, leading to store closures that left 27,000 people out of work. Since its collapse former Woolworths stores have become a blight in many town centres and more than 100 of the large stores still lay vacant in January 2012.

Loyal customers didn't have go without the family favourite store for long however as it reappeared online as Woolworths.co.uk in 2009, after Shop Direct Home Shopping bought out the Woolworths name.

The greetings cards specialist became the latest highstreet casualty in May with 8,000 jobs on the line when it was forced it into administration. Its biggest supplier, American Greetings, then bought Clintons out of administration and put the retailer through a rebrand including a new logo and complete in-store revamps.

Its contemporary format includes new fixtures and fittings and easier to navigate stores, and will be rolled out to all 400 UK stores at the cost of £16million. Bosses aim to bring the brand back to profit within two years.

Poor sales in the run up to Christmas was the final nail in the coffin for several struggling chains, including lingerie retailer La Senza, which went bust in January 2012 with 146 shops and 2,600 staff. Kuwaiti retailer Alshaya bought part of the business, which saved 60 shops and 1,000 staff.

La Senza has been struggling in a similar way to other specialist shops such as Game and Mothercare, which have been hit by cut-price competition at supermarkets and have no alternative products to help shoulder losses.

Stricken retailer Blacks Leisure, which employed 3,600 staff across 98 Blacks stores and 208 Millets stores, went into administration in Janurary 2012 after failing to find an outright buyer.

Soon after its stores were bought by sportswear firm JD Sports in pre-pack deal - an insolvency procedure which sees a company being sold immediately after it has entered administration – which saw most of Blacks' £36 million of debt wiped out.

Fashion chain Bonmarche, which was part of the Peacock Group, was sold in January when the group collapsed due to unsustainable debts, resulting in 1,400 job losses and 160 store closures. Private equity firm Sun European Partners bought 230 stores, which continue to trade with 2,400 staff.

Peacocks collapsed under a £740 million net debt mountain in January 2012 in the biggest retail failure since Woolworths. Despite being sold out of administration to Edinburgh Woollen Mill in a deal that saved 380 stores and 6,000 jobs, administrators from KPMG were forced to close 224 stores with immediate effect. This lead to 3,350 redundancies from stores and Peacocks head office in Cardiff.

The high street name continues trading as bosses work to stabilise the situation, yet a further blow was dealt this month with news that the firm's pension fund is in £15.8 million shortfall as a result of the collapse.

Game buckled under its £85m debt pile in March 2012 and was placed into administration after being unable to pay a £21m rent bill. Administrator PwC immediately closed 277 shops, with the loss of 2,000 jobs. Soon after, investment firm, OpCapita bought 333 Game stores, saving more than 3,000 jobs.

Game's demise followed a string of profit warnings and the failure of nervous suppliers, including leading names Electronic Arts and Nintendo, to go on providing the latest games, further damaging poor sales.

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Back in May, last year, when former boss Simon Fox was still in charge, the group said it was looking for pre-tax profits of at least £10 million for the 2012/13 financial year.
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