HMV and Waterstone’s likely to escape national closures

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EASTBOURNE’S HMV and Waterstone’s are unlikely to close in the coming year, despite an announcement by the struggling retailer that 60 stores are set to shut in the next 12 months.

Shares in music and books retailer HMV Group have fallen by 24 per cent after the national chain revealed falling sales, weak profits and troubles meeting the terms of a bank loan.

The firm announced plans to close 60 HMV and Waterstone’s stores this year in order to get costs under control.

However, a spokesperson for HMV Group said smaller town’s like Eastbourne with just one of each store and a ‘strong local demand’ were unlikely to shut.

He explained a list of the 60 stores set to close had not yet been published but said Waterstone’s and HMV shops in areas where there is an ‘over-capacity’ were the most likely to shut.

This announcement comes after the firm’s Christmas sales were down 10 per cent. The snowy weather is thought to be one of the reasons behind the decline in sales. But it is not just the entertainments industry which struggled in the run up to Christmas. At the beginning of December Eastbourne experienced its heaviest snow for nearly 50 years and toy, clothes and food stores noticed changes in sales.

During the severe weather, Jayne Piper from family-run Rainbow Toys in Terminus Road told the Herald takings were down by 80 per cent.

She said, “We saw a considerable drop in sales at a time when we expected to be very busy.

“It was a waste of time being open, but it is just one of those things and you have to muddle through it.”