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Wednesday, 30 July 2014

HMV staff in Cumbria must wait to learn fate

Staff at the HMV stores in Carlisle and Workington will have to wait longer to find out if their jobs are safe.

The shops at The Lanes, in Carlisle, and Washington Square, Workington, are among 239 HMV outlets with an uncertain future after the music chain called in administrators yesterday.

But unlike the camera retailer Jessops, where all the outlets shut within days of going into administration last week, HMV’s administrator Deloitte plans to keep trading while it seeks a buyer for the business.

Optimism is mounting after the chief executive of HMV said he was “convinced” it could be saved.

Trevor Moore insisted that there was a place for HMV on the high street and was “confident” of finding a solution.

The group confirmed it had endured a torrid Christmas, saying sales had been “disappointing” after the failure to secure the supply of two key tablet computers saw it miss out on surging demand for the gadgets.

While it did not reveal its festive performance, HMV said sales declines remained around the 10.2 per cent level seen in the half year to October 26.

Mr Moore’s comments have fuelled speculation that he might be involved in an attempt to rescue the business.

HMV has stopped accepting its gift vouchers, leaving customers who hold them out of pocket.

Although all stores remain open for the time being, it is likely that Deloitte will announce some closures.

Squeezed by internet retailers and supermarkets, whose scale has enabled them to offer CDs and DVDs at cheaper prices, HMV warned before Christmas that it was in trouble.

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

But according to the Financial Times, they balked at a request last week for more financial assistance.

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