Hefty business rates come under fire as HMV prepares to shut town stores

The HMV store at the Arc shopping centre in Bury St Edmunds, which is due to close Picture: SARAH C

The HMV store at the Arc shopping centre in Bury St Edmunds, which is due to close Picture: SARAH CHAMBERS - Credit: Archant

HMV hit out at “extortionate” business rates as it announced three shop closures – including in Suffolk – and the risk of more to come.

The music retailer said it planned to close its stores in Bury St Edmunds, Glasgow's Byres Road and Nuneaton at the end of January, with new tenants already lined up to move into the properties.

And it has warned of job losses and the closure of up to 10 stores in other parts of the country unless it can to secure new deals with landlords.

MORE - Second Aldi store planned for Bury St EdmundsIt is rumoured that the HMV store in Bury St Edmunds' Arc shopping centre - due to close on January 25 - may make way for JD Sports.

In a statement, HMV said some stores were no longer viable due to "extortionate" business rates in certain locations.

Ten stores are due to close later this month unless the company is able to agree new deals with landlords, HMV said.

"There are currently 10 stores where negotiations with landlords are ongoing and we are hopeful of securing new deals," a HMV spokesman said.

"The closures are no reflection on our superb staff and where we are not able to come to a new agreement or relocate staff within the business elsewhere, unfortunately this does mean some of our staff will lose their jobs."

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HMV was snapped up in a rescue deal by music mogul Doug Putman in February 2019 after it fell into administration for the second time in five years in December 2018.

Mr Putman, who runs Canadian retailer Sunrise Records, closed 15 stores after taking control of the business.

There were concerns in June 2019 that the HMV store would close its doors permanently after failing to reach a deal on a new lease with Arc landlords CBRE.

However, the store was saved following a petition launched by customer Danny Robertson which received more than 1,000 signatures from members of the public to keep the popular shop open.