Outlook for Zavvi staff still uncertain

THE future of four Zavvi stores in the region remains uncertain following the sale by administrators of 14 branches of the troubled firm to rival HMV.

By Duncan Brodie

Business Editor

THE future of four Zavvi stores in the region remains uncertain following the sale by administrators of 14 branches of the troubled firm to rival HMV.

Music, DVD and games specialist Zavvi fell into administration on Christmas Eve after being badly hit by the collapse of Entertainment UK, the wholesale arm of Woolworths, which was its main supplier.

The administrators, from accountancy firm Ernst & Young, have since announced the closure of 40 stores - including those in Braintree town centre and at the town's Freeport shopping village, plus branches in Cambridge and Stevenage - with the loss of 531 jobs.

Late on Wednesday, however, the administrators announced that nine Zavvi stores in the UK - including those in Southend and Peterborough - and five in Ireland were being acquired by HMV, saving a total of 269 jobs.

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This leaves Zavvi - created through a management buyout of the Virgin Megastore chain from Sir Richard Branson's Virgin Group in 2007 - trading from 63 outlets which, in the East of England, include those in Ipswich, Colchester, Norwich and Harlow.

Joint administrator Tom Jack said: “We are continuing detailed discussions with a number of interested parties and are optimistic this could lead to the sale of further stores and retention of staff at a number of locations throughout the UK and Republic of Ireland.”

He added: “We would like to thank Zavvi's loyal staff and customers for their commitment and continued support for the business.”

HMV said the 14 Zavvi stores it was acquiring were mainly in locations where it did not currently have a presence.

It said it expected the cost of the acquisition to be around �2 million, including a purchase price of �700,000 and the fit-out and rebranding of the outlets.