HIGH street music retailer HMV last week announced that it is appointing Deloitte as administrators, putting over 4,000 jobs at risk.
However the company says it is keeping all eleven Northern Ireland stores open - including the one in Coleraine’s Diamond Centre - while they seek a buyer.
Chief executive Trevor Moore insisted there was a place for HMV on the high street and said he was “confident that we will find a solution.
“I would like to personally pay tribute to the 4,500 people who work for HMV. Clearly this is a very worrying time for them and their families,” he said.
The news makes HMV the latest in a succession of shops to fall into trouble following a difficult trading period for Northern Ireland’s retailers and the challenge from online stores.
Consumers who have HMV gift vouchers or cards will not be able to redeem them but should hold onto the gift voucher or card in case a buyer for the company is found.
Dan Wagner, CEO and Chairman of mPowa and Powa Technologies, which is responsible for implementing online and mobile retail platforms for some of the leading high street names, said, “Although HMV has introduced various promotions to drive sales, the shift in the way consumers are buying goods has had far-reaching implications.
“Internet shopping is now more popular in the UK than any other country in the world, with UK spending an average of £1,083 a year on shopping online. While this is good news for British ecommerce businesses, those that didn’t have a digitally focused strategy from the outset are now playing catch-up and the consequences are clear to see.
“Although HMV responded to its changing customer demands by moving towards a technology focused strategy with the sale of headphones and tablets, it appears by today’s announcement that this strategy has not been able to compensate for the fall in CD and DVD revenue. Competition from iTunes and Amazon seems to have contributed to the fall in sales for HMV.”
Wagner warned: “Many retailers in Northern Ireland could succumb to a similar fate because of the cumulative effect of poor sales throughout the year. Retailers have to stay ahead of the game and have an effective online and offline strategy in place if they are to survive in this new technology-focused era.”
Antoinette McKeown, Chief Executive of the Consumer Council said: “HMV has announced their policy is not to accept gift vouchers or cards or issue any more. It’s at the discretion of the administrator to allow consumers to redeem any form of gift card or voucher.
“If a new buyer is found, the new owner may honour the gift vouchers or cards so consumers should hold onto their vouchers or cards.
“If you have HMV goods that you want to exchange or return, you are not legally entitled to a refund or exchange unless the item is faulty. If the item is faulty, your rights under the Sale of Goods Act will apply and HMV must replace the faulty item or provide a refund.
“Given the current economic climate, the Consumer Council would encourage consumers who have gift vouchers or cards and credit notes for any retailer to use them as soon as possible. Consumers should also think about how they pay for goods or services in order to protect them against a retailer going out of business.”