Further closure news, as HMV continues to negotiate with landlords in spite of putting the ‘closing down’ signs up.
Last week, we reported that entertainment retailer HMV was kicking off 2020 by having to re-evaluate the future of a bunch of its stores. The list that we had then, of stores set to be closed by the end of January, read as follows:
Birmingham Bull Ring
Bury St Edmonds
Now, plans are apparently afoot to find a fresh site for the chain in Plymouth, and the Leeds and Birmingham Bull Ring closures have come about because of new HMV stores opening near the sites affected. Thus the old shops are shuttering.
Since we ran this list too, we’ve also heard that the ‘Store Closing’ signs have gone up at the chain’s Merry Hill branch in the West Midlands. Also, we hear that the firm’s Edinburgh store is set to close.
Over the weekend, we visited one of the affected Midlands sites, and chatted to one or two of the brilliant staff affected. As suspected, whilst HMV is preparing to close the stores at the end of this month, there are also ongoing negotiations. That the chain is looking for landlords to drop the rents it has to pay, and it feels as though there’s a little bit of hardball going on here. That by putting up the closing down signs, HMV is signalling to the landlords it’s negotiating with that it’s willing to walk away if a deal can’t be struck.
This isn’t like this time last year, when the very future of the HMV chain was in serious doubt (and 2020 brings with it plans for new store openings still). But once again, the people nonetheless caught in the middle of this are the staff, who are facing an uncertain future whilst negotiations continue.
We’ll keep an eye on the story, and detail any future closures that we find out about. More as we hear it, and fingers crossed for HMV’s staff.
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