'Loss of HMV would be major blow to Plymouth city centre'
STAFF at the city's stricken HMV store faced an uncertain future last night as the chain was put into administration.
Clint Jones, Plymouth's city centre manager, said it would be a terrible loss to the city centre if the store closed.
Mr Jones said it "would not be good news for the high street" if the beleaguered music, DVD and games retailer closed, particularly following the recent demise of Comet and Jessops.
HMV went into administration yesterday, with about 20 workers at the Drake Circus store facing an uncertain future and customers reportedly angered by the chain's decision not to accept gift cards or vouchers.
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HMV bosses were last night saying they were "convinced" they could secure a future for the business.
Mr Jones said he'd been a long-standing HMV customer but the chain had been hit by the growth of internet retailing and the generally poor economic climate in the UK, Europe and world wide.
"People are being more frugal," he said. "For a lot of people music and films are not essentials."
However he said if HMV stores closed nationally it would leave a hole in the recorded music and movie market and said: "It's going to effect every single high street and will have an impact on Plymouth."
But he said: "Given that Plymouth's store is performing well it could be one of the ones that they look at saving."
Mr Jones said the loss of high profile stores was evidence that retail had changed dramatically in the past decade, but the high street had not reacted fast enough.
At the Drake Circus HMV staff were last night in the dark over their future and would only confirm they had been instructed not to accept gift cards.
A relative of one Plymouth worker said: "Staff in the store are suffering terrible abuse from customers as they are unable to take gift cards or do refunds and exchanges."
Financial services firm Deloitte was yesterday called in as administrator for the chain.
HMV directors said it is the intention of administrators to continue to trade whilst they seek a purchaser for the business.
The retailer suffered a poor Christmas with sales disappointing after the failure to secure the supply of two key tablet computers saw it miss out on surging demand for the gadgets. The 92-year-old chain has 4,500 staff nationally, in 238 stores.