HMV's Irish shops still not accepting vouchers

Monday 21 January 2013 17.33
Hilco bought HMV Canada in 2011
Hilco bought HMV Canada in 2011

HMV Ireland is still not accepting gift vouchers in contrast with a change in policy in the UK where administrators said shops will accept them from tomorrow.

Deloitte UK says that after assessing HMV's books, they will now honour the vouchers.

However, in Ireland, HMV is in receivership and a spokesperson said the shops remain closed and are not accepting vouchers.

Sit-ins at several Irish HMV shops ended on Saturday after the receivers promised they would pay staff wages.

It's understood that HMV's Irish employees have been put on temporary lay-off pending a future decision by the receivers.

The National Consumer Agency says it has upgraded to an investigation, its initial inquiry into events surrounding HMV going into administration in the UK, and receivership in Ireland.

Part of its investigation will focus on the announcement from HMV that vouchers would not be on honoured from 15th January - the day it went into administration in the UK. The agency maintains that the Irish business was not covered by a similar legal process until one day later when it went into receivership here.

Meanwhile restructuring specialist Hilco is the frontrunner in the battle to save music retailer from administration, British media reported over the weekend.

Hilco, which bought HMV Canada in 2011 and salvaged home goods firm Habitat, is favoured by an industry consortium, the Sunday Times said.

The paper said music labels and film studios, such as Universal, Warner, Sony, and 20th Century Fox were preparing a rescue package, keen to keep the 92-year-old retailer alive.

Options for the suppliers include cutting the prices of discs and giving the retailer generous credit terms, it said.

HMV, which has 223 British stores, is the UK's last major specialist high street retailer of CDs and DVDs. It went into administration last week, putting over 4,000 jobs at risk.

Administrators Deloitte have received over 50 expressions of interest in HMV, including from trade and private equity, a source familiar with the situation said. The administrator has been working over the weekend, but assessing all the potential buyers is likely to take some time.

Deloitte is also the administrator of DVD rental firm Blockbuster UK. Deloitte has received "a good level of interest" from potential buyers for Blockbuster, although less than for HMV, the source said, with some interested in buying the stores rather than the business.

The Sunday Times said Deloitte had held talks with about half a dozen parties for Blockbuster, with retailers, such as supermarket chain WM Morrison, circling as they seek new sites for convenience stores.

Blockbuster, owned by US firm Dish Network, went into administration last week and said on Saturday that it was closing 129 of its 528 stores in the UK.