It was announced today that customers who have bought HMV gift cards or vouchers will be able to spend them in the collapsed retailers’ stores after all.
Administration firm Deloitte gave out a statement that promised as they had reviewed the failed music and DVD chain’s companies finances, they had decided to honour all HMV vouchers from tomorrow.
HMV customers were rightly angry about the chance they would not be able to spend vouchers or gift cards, as the retailer had been accepting payments for them, right up until they went into administration. This promoted a furious social media response from disgruntled customers, who stated that the chain should not have sold the vouchers if they knew they were going into administration.
Administrator Nick Edwards said the decision had been made after assessing HMV’s financial position, and added that proceeds of charity releases, including the Hillsborough Justice Collective single, would be paid in full as soon as possible.
He said: ‘We recognise that both of these matters have caused concern for individuals and organisations affected and we are pleased to have reached a positive outcome.’
Mr Edwards said Deloitte was still assessing the longer term options for the business and was hopeful the business could continue as a going concern.
Hilco, a firm that specialises in taking over distressed retailers, is leading the race to buy the chain. The company, led by chief executive Paul McGowan, already owns HMV in Canada and salvaged part of Habitat in the UK last year.
It is thought that there may be a chance that HMV could be sold off to another buyer, and possibly retain its trading name, as Deloitte confirmed that it had received more than 50 expressions of interest in HMV. It is also the administrator of DVD rental firm Blockbuster UK. The chain is to close 129 of its 528 UK stores leaving 760 staff facing redundancy.
Apparently, a group of music labels and film studios are reported to be working on a rescue package for HMV. They are keen to keep the 92-year-old retailer alive as an alternative to supermarkets and online sellers that are driving prices down. And even the supermarket Morrisons have expressed an interest.
Henry Jackson, the controversial private equity boss behind the demise of Comet is also turning his attention to HMV and failed photography chain Jessops. The tycoon, who was widely criticised for his handling of the collapse of the electrical retailer Comet, is part of a group of investors who have approached administrators of both firms.
HMV is one of the highest profile retail casualties so far in the slump after administrators from Deloitte were called in earlier this month. It has more than 4,300 staff and 220 stores in the UK and Ireland. A consortium that could include music labels and studios is reported to be looking at a number of options to help HMV. These could involve giving it generous credit terms and cutting the price of CDs.