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Dublin: 10 °C Thursday 17 April, 2014

HMV may return to Ireland after buyout of UK business

Hilco, which previously saved the A-Wear business in Ireland, has bought the UK arm of HMV – and wants to come back to Ireland.

The new owners of HMV are keen to bring the chain back to Ireland - but a return to Grafton Street is unlikely.
The new owners of HMV are keen to bring the chain back to Ireland - but a return to Grafton Street is unlikely.
Image: Niall Carson/PA Wire

MUSIC AND ENTERTAINMENT retail chain HMV may yet return to Ireland, after the company’s UK business was bought out by a company with significant experience in saving distressed retail firms.

Hilco UK this morning confirmed its acquisition of the British HMV chain, including 141 stores – 25 of which had previously been earmarked for closure by administrators Deloitte.

The move – thought to be worth £50 million (€58.9 million) – will save 2,500 retail jobs in the UK.

Hilco CEO Paul McGowan said the firm had negotiated with landlords to revise the terms of the lease for various premises.

“We hope to replicate some of the success we have had in the Canadian market with the HMV Canada business which we acquired almost two years ago and which is now trading strongly,” he said.

“The structural differences in the markets and the higher level of competition in the UK will prove additional challenges for the UK business but we believe it has a successful future ahead of it.”

Hilco has had mixed success in trying to save retail chains in the past: the firm bought Irish fashion retailer A-Wear in October 2011, and sold it five months later after implementing an internal restructuring.

However, it was also the final owner of the failed Woolworths chain which was liquidated in 2009.

The firm said it was keen to see HMV return to the Republic of Ireland, where the chain’s 16 stores were closed two months ago with the loss of 300 jobs.

It said it was in talks with a number of landlords with a view to re-establishing the HMV brand in the country.

The chain is unlikely to return to its flagship premises on Dublin’s Grafton Street, however: the premises were put up for rent earlier this week, a development which may suggest little progress in negotiations between Hilco and the premises’ owner.

The Guardian reports this morning that a site on Henry Street is a more likely proposition.

Read: Former HMV Grafton Street store up for rent for €1 million

More: HMV: What does its receivership mean for Irish music and businesses?

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