As the ongoing HMV saga takes another twist, Getintothis’ Howard Doupé brings some good news for the high street retailer.
After Canadian firm Sunrise Records, owner of music retailer HMV, had announced further store closures across the UK, it has now confirmed that six stores have now been saved from the cull.
As new deals on rental agreements have been made with respective landlords, from the nine stores that were hanging in the balance, Grimsby, Glasgow, Edinburgh, Reading, Sheffield and Birmingham have been saved from closure.
Initially HMV had announced only five stores were to remain open, with Birmingham’s Bullring branch, having been due to pull it’s shutters down at the end of the month, saved late last week.
Sadly efforts to keep open stores in Bristol, Worcester and Dudley have been so far unsuccessful.
A HMV statement commented, “Unfortunately, some previously mentioned stores still remain under threat of closure at the end of this month unless new deals can be agreed.”
HMV’s new owners had recently echoed statements previously made by Hilco, when it put the entertainment retailer into administration at the end of 2018, to the effect that “extortionate” business rates charged by local authorities made some stores unviable, even where landlords were willing to negotiate on rent payments.
In what has yet to be twelve months into their acquisition of the UK chain, bringing it out of their second administration in six years, Sunrise have been taking necessary efforts to keep the chains overheads down by renegotiating rents and relocating stores wherever possible.
The latest announcement is the result of said talks, with HMV branches in Bury St Edmunds, Nuneaton and an outpost of its Fopp brand in Glasgow definitely going.
In Leeds and Birmingham, where HMV launched new stores in 2019, the old bases close their doors by the end of the month.
It has been saved AGAIN!https://t.co/f19Knr7iq6
— Reading Chronicle (@rdgchronicle) January 16, 2020
Back in December, HMV owner Doug Putman said Christmas was “crunch time” as the determiner to whether the handiwork put into building the brand throughout the year paid off through festive sales.
He told the BBC, “All the hard work you do for ten months of the year, that period is when you see it come to fruition and you see how good a job you did.”
In Thursday’s statement, the company said, “We are delighted to announce that we have been able to secure new agreements on six stores which were previously under threat of closure.
This is great news for our staff and for our loyal customers in the communities, who can continue to look to HMV to provide the best entertainment offer on the high street and online.”
Meanwhile, Richer Sounds founder Julian Richer has announced his mission to bankroll a campaign to bring about an end to zero-hours contracts.
Launching Zero Hours Justice which plans to hold free legal advice clinics around the country for zero-hours workers to identify people whose experiences in the workplace could provide the basis for legal action that could help change the law.
“I’d love to do a Gina and beat government,” says Richer, in a reference to the anti-Brexit Campaigner Gina Miller. “We will seek to expose zero-hours contracts as sham contracts when they do not represent the truth of what is exactly happening.”
The campaign, which has the support of the TUC, will be backed by a national advertising campaign as it seeks to “mover the needle” of public opinion on a practice that has become common in many workplaces.