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HMV closes stores where more favourable rents not available

By | Published on Tuesday 7 January 2014


The all-new HMV will shut nine stores this month, new owner Hilco having seemingly worked out, since acquiring the entertainment retailer last April, which shops are viable long-term, and crucially which landlords can be negotiated with on rents.

At least some of the stores now being wound down were earmarked for closure after the HMV Group went into administration a year ago, but were kept going after the Hilco acquisition.

Amongst the shops to be closed – according to local media reports – are Stratford-upon-Avon, Leamington, Newport, Kettering, Islington and two in Edinburgh.

Where HMV has provided comment to local newspapers, inflexible landlords have usually been blamed for the need to close these stores, Hilco having been frank from the start that the new HMV would need to secure better rent agreements than those enjoyed by the old HMV Group.

Though the owner of the Newlands Shopping Centre in Kettering has hit back, telling the Northamptonshire Telegraph that it had been very flexible with HMV, but couldn’t comply with Hilco’s ultimate request, allegedly zero rent.

Mark Robinson of Newlands owner Ellandi said last month: “I want to make it clear that we are disappointed to be losing HMV. We supported the firm during their last restructuring by reducing their rent and also giving them a rent-free period. [But] we have got good interest in that unit from a number of national retailers and we will be making an announcement in the new year”.

The closure of the Islington branch has got the most attention, partly due to the London-centric nature of the national press, though also because that store led the way after bosses at the old HMV announced they were stepping up their focus on tech products and gadgets.

Hilco revealed plans to downsize the gadget departments expanded by the firm’s previous management last month, giving the floor space back to CDs, DVDs and games.