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Sadness over HMV Bracknell closure

Published: 13 Feb 2013 09:301 comment

NINE shell-shocked staff at HMV in Bracknell will lose their jobs after discovering their store is to close.

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The music chain's administrator, accountancy firm Deloitte UK, announced last

Thursday that the Charles Square shop is among 66 'loss-marking' stores which will shut, following the business going into administration last month.

Gennaro Castaldo, HMV's press officer, said the store will close within four-six weeks and despite rumours that the Bracknell branch could be one of the first to go, he could not confirm this is the case.

He said: "We're very, very sorry to be withdrawing from Bracknell and I'd like to thank all our customers and our wonderful staff we've had there.

"This is clearly something that's out of our hands and I hope Midweek readers will understand that. I was there [in Bracknell] just before Christmas and it's a great little store. Sadly it was a case of looking at the viability of stores based on sales and rents and making a decision on that."

Nick Edwards, joint administrator for Deloitte, said the closures of the 66 affected stores - which employ 930 staff in total - is part of the company's ongoing review of HMV's financial position.

"This step has been taken in order to enhance the prospects of securing the business future as a going concern," he added. "We continue to receive strong support from staff and are extremely grateful to them for their commitment during an understandably difficult period."

Staff are not allowed to speak to the media, but are said to be devastated by the news.

Stores in Reading and Newbury are among 150 HMV stores that are safe for now and will remain open.

Upon hearing the news of the Bracknell store's closure, readers took to our Facebook page.

Nathan Saleh posted: "The bosses of HMV failed to recognise the change in consumer shopping habits and failed to modernise."

HMV has admitted it has struggled to compete against increased competition from internet-based retailers and the ability for people to stream music and movies on the web, or download digital versions.

Restructuring firm Hilco UK - which has owned HMV Canada since 2011 - threw the music giant a lifeline and acquired the company's debt from the group's lenders, but it has not bought the business itself. This will give more time for Deloitte to secure a buyer. The administrator has said it has already had dozens of expressions of interest .

While the store remains open, gift cards can be redeemed. Some readers expressed concern about Bracknell town centre generally. "There is nothing in Bracknell - but with places like Amazon selling everything there is no need to leave your home," wrote Sarah Davies.

Helen Barnett, marketing manager at the Bracknell Regeneration Partnership, said: "It is of course sad to lose any retailers from the town centre, and there is no doubt that high streets across the country are having a tough time as the economic climate continues to dampen consumer spending."

But she added Bracknell town centre will be redeveloped, with new shops and leisure facilities, adding: "The plans for the regeneration of the northern part of the town centre are progressing apace, Cineworld and Marks & Spencer have confirmed that they are coming to the town and we will be welcoming Poundworld to Princess Square in the summer."

Will you be sad to see HMV to go? Comment below or have your say at www.facebook.com/bracknellnews

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