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UK music chain HMV shuts 37 more shops

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LONDON, Feb 20 AFP

February 21 2013, 03:25AM

Collapsed British music retailer HMV will shut another 37 branches over the next six weeks, in a move that will shed 464 jobs, administrators Deloitte says.

"The joint administrators of HMV today confirm that a further 37 of the group's stores have been identified for closure. The affected stores employ 464 staff," Deloitte said in a statement on Wednesday.

The outlets will be shut down in parallel with the 66 branches that were also earmarked for closure earlier this month. The latest announcement leaves the troubled group with 116 stores.

Wednesday's news came nearly two weeks after Deloitte sacked 60 staff at HMV's head office network - including former chief executive Trevor Moore.

In January, HMV had slumped into administration - the process whereby a troubled company calls upon independent expert financial help in an attempt to remain operational.

HMV was the nation's last remaining high-street music and video specialist retailer. The iconic group succumbed to heavy debts and fierce pressure from online rivals and supermarket giants, whose scale enabled them to offer CDs and DVDs at cheaper prices.

Deloitte revealed last week that sale talks were "progressing" as it also announced it had secured stock from most of HMV's suppliers that will see it continue to sell new music and blockbusters, including James Bond film Skyfall.

Late last month, US-based restructuring firm Hilco agreed to buy the debt of HMV, in a move which raised hope of a rescue deal.

Before its collapse, HMV employed more than 4120 staff and had 220 branches dotted across Britain.

In a separate gloomy development on Wednesday, British carpet maker Axminster announced its intention to file for administration, placing 400 jobs at risk.

Axminster Carpets, which is based in Devon, southwest England, said the decision would provide the company and its creditors with time to explore various rescue options.