2,500 jobs are to be saved as HMV is officially rescued from oblivion. The ailing music, movie and game shop has a new master's voice, and will steer away from selling iPads to revive its flagging fortunes.
Restructuring firm Hilco is a company that specialises in turning round struggling chains, and after buying HMV's debt now takes charge of 130 branches, including 25 shops marked for closure. Around 2,500 HMV staff are now set to keep their jobs.
All nine branches of Fopp will also survive. Crucially, according to Sky News, record companies and film studios have agreed to supply the surviving shops with stock on terms that allow the chain to continue. But HMV will cut back on plans to sell tablets to focus on music and films.
"Great news," says HMV on its Facebook page, "we're officially out of administration and now under the new ownership. The whole team here is working hard behind the scenes to bring you a new and improved HMV: a new website and digital service, a rebooted Pure rewards scheme and a fresh approach to our stores are all in the works.
"Finally, we'd also like to thank and acknowledge the valued contribution of all our store, distribution centre and head office colleagues, past and present." Particularly, I imagine, the anonymous hero who hijacked HMV's official Twitter feed to report a mass sacking at head office.
Today's news is small comfort to staff in shops that have closed or are set to close in the near future. More than 100 HMVs -- nearly half of the shops in the chain -- were to close due to the firm's collapse into administration in January.
After a disastrous start to the year for a number of high street stores, a couple of chains threatened with oblivion have been dragged back from the brink -- albeit in much slimmed-down form. Video chain Blockbuster has survived, saving 2,000 staff in 264 shops. And camera shop Jessops reopened recently with the backing of TV business mogul Peter Jones.
But none of these shops are out of the woods. They're still threatened by competition from online shopping as well as digital downloading of music and movies. Industry expert Dan Wagner of mPowa warns, "Consumers looking squarely at price will be tempted by the likes of Amazon and iTunes... options should be considered to redesign store layouts, payment systems and in-store facilities to create a more modern shopping experience."
Are you glad HMV has survived? Is HMV here to stay, or is this just a temporary reprieve in the face of competition from digital music and downloading? Tell me your thoughts in the comments or on our Facebook page.