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Friday, 25 July 2014

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Reprieve hope for Cumbrian HMV store

Doomed Workington music store HMV could be handed a reprieve.

After an announcement was made yesterday by administrator Deloitte that the Workington branch was among 66 stores to close its doors, bosses at the shopping centre which houses HMV said they were in negotiations with Deloitte about the possibility of a U-turn.

Dave Fletcher, development manager for Washington Square Shopping Centre, said that he was “hopeful” a deal would be made with the administrators and that HMV could remain in the centre.

“It isn’t the end for HMV,” he said. “We have only been notified and are still in negotiations (with Deloitte). We won’t just give up and we will keep fighting to the end.

“We have done the same with other stores and I’m hopeful we can with this one. I always have a positive outlook.”

HMV went into administration last month after facing intense competition from online retailers, digital downloads and supermarkets in recent years. But hopes of a rescue deal were raised after restructuring firm Hilco bought the company’s £176m of debt.

The stores earmarked for closure employ 930 staff, Deloitte said, with 10 at Workington. However, the Carlisle branch is to remain open.

Deloitte said no fixed date had been set for the closure of the 66 identified stores, but Mr Fletcher said that if the bid to keep the Workington store open failed, he envisaged it closing next month.

Nick Edwards, joint administrator at Deloitte, said about the closures: “This step has been taken in order to enhance the prospects of securing the business’ future as a going concern. We continue to receive strong support from staff and are extremely grateful to them for their commitment during an understandably difficult period. All other key stakeholders remain very supportive and I continue to be hopeful.”

Hilco, which turned around the fortunes of HMV’s Canadian arm, and Deloitte believe that for the chain to emerge as a viable high street retailer it must slash its shop numbers to between 120 and 160.

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