HMV staff face uncertain future

STAFF at Dundalk’s HMV store face an uncertain New Year as the multi-national entertainment retailer faces a bleak year ahead.

STAFF at Dundalk’s HMV store face an uncertain New Year as the multi-national entertainment retailer faces a bleak year ahead.

While the last few weeks have been busy at the Dundalk store in The Marshes, the once-healthy international retailer has been confronted with an unprecendented fall in sales this year across the group.

The UK owned group employs more then 300 people in Ireland at 16 stores. However, its like-for-like sales have fallen by a massive 11.9 per cent in the first half of the financial year, with a total loss of £50 million (€60m) was posted in the period.

Like-for-like sales were down 13.2 per cent in the seven weeks to 17 December.

A member of staff at HMV Dundalk told the paper: “We are not aware of anything other then what has been announced recently by the company at an official level.

“We are not overly worried here about the future of the business. We are just getting on with the things and doing our jobs.

“It has been busy over the Christmas period, and though we haven’t had any figures yet it seems its been busy here.”

Last week, an official spokesperson for the group said that there were now “material uncertainties which may cast significant doubt on the group’s ability to continue as a going concern in the future”.

However, they have also stated that they have adequate resources to continue trading for the foreseeable future.

HMV has attempted to rationalise the business, cutting its Canadian arm in a bid to cut debt, as well as jettisoning its Waterstone’s book business, whose stores in Dublin have closed.

In June the group secured its future in the short term, with a £220 million refinancing deal with banks.

HMV now face a triple threat in the form of online sales, supermarket retailers (such as Tesco), and the looming culture of internet downloading.