A ‘sad day’ for city’s high street

Retailer administration: The stricken HMV store in Preston
Retailer administration: The stricken HMV store in Preston
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HMV customers said it was a ‘sad day’ for the high street as the entertainment retailer collapsed into administration.

The company, which has struggled for several years in the face of online competition, announced an additional sale at its 238 stores last week in a last ditch effort to raise cash to pay off £176m in debts.

But the retailer, which employs 4,350 people, has now appointed the administrator Deloitte to assess its prospects and seek potential buyers.

It has also confirmed it will not be accepting gift cards or vouchers from customers.

Shoppers stopped outside the Fishergate branch in Preston yesterday, which was open for business and running a 25 per cent off ‘blue cross’ sale.

Staff put up signs in the shop window, which read: “We are currently not issuing or taking vouchers.

“We are also unable to exchange or refund anything.

“Please note this decision has not been made by our staff, who are under immense stress at the moment.

“So bear this in mind when we cannot accept your gift cards or issue you a refund.”

Stacy Charlton, 36, from Walton-le-Dale, said she felt sorry for HMV workers.

She said: “My son had £40 in vouchers. He spent £20 last week and he had £20 left.

“I went in to ask what’s happening, but what can they do?

“People are going to lose their jobs and that’s obviously worse than me being stuck with a voucher I can’t use.”

Bernard Graham Lavery, 69, from Preston, visits the shop once or twice a week.

He said: “I drop my wife off for a cup of tea, spend half an hour in here and then buy something. I feel sad for everyone involved.

“To me gift vouchers are cash. People have paid for them and HMV have already got the money for them.”

Edwin Avila, 36, from Preston, had £20 on a gift card.

He said: “First of all I’m sorry for the staff who will lose their jobs. I’m a regular at HMV so I’m a bit sad that they have gone into administration.

“I hope they can find someone to purchase them.

“When you look at what has happened to JJB and Comet, it’s quite a sad day really.”

Analysts suggested HMV’s business model was doomed, as it had been squeezed by internet retailers and supermarkets whose scale enables them to offer CDs and DVDs at cheaper prices.