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British music chain HMV to shut 66 stores: administrators

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(Globalpost/GlobalPost)

Collapsed British music retailer HMV will close 66 of its stores over the next two months in a move that will axe nearly 1,000 jobs, administrators Deloitte announced on Thursday.

"The joint administrators of HMV today confirm that 66 of the group's stores have been identified for closure," Deloitte said in a statement.

"The affected stores employ 930 staff. No fixed date is set for the closure of these stores which will continue to trade in the meantime.

"However, it is expected that closures will take place over the next one to two months."

The group, which currently has 220 outlets in Britain, had last month 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 but it succumbed to heavy debts and unrelenting pressure from online rivals such as Amazon and iTunes.

"As part of our ongoing review of HMV's financial position, we have now completed a review of the store portfolio and have identified 66 loss making stores for closure," added joint administrator Nick Edwards in the statement.

"This step has been taken in order to enhance the prospects of securing the business' future as a going concern."

He also expressed confidence that they would secure the group's future after the restructuring.

"We continue to receive strong support from staff and are extremely grateful to them for their commitment during an understandably difficult period.

"All other key stakeholders remain very supportive and I continue to be hopeful of securing a future for the restructured business."

Hopes of a rescue deal emerged late last month after restructuring firm Hilco agreed to buy the debt of HMV, in an agreement which effectively handed it control of the company. No financial details were disclosed.

Back in 2011, Hilco had bought HMV Canada for £2 million ($3.2 million, 2.4 million euros) in a transaction which had allowed parent group HMV to secure a new borrowing facility at the time.

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http://www.globalpost.com/dispatch/news/afp/130207/british-music-chain-hmv-shut-66-stores-administrators