Even more St Albans and Harpenden stores under threat

Blockbuster Video Store on London Road, St Albans

Blockbuster Video Store on London Road, St Albans - Credit: Archant

THE high street has been dealt yet more blows in the last seven days after it was announced the St Albans branch of HMV and Blockbuster in Harpenden are set to close.

HMV, in St Peter’s Street, has been chosen as one of the 66 loss-making stores across the country that will shut down as a result of the company going into administration.

It is unknown when the shop will cease trading but it is currently advertising a closing down sale.

When the news broke last Thursday several local residents took to Twitter to mourn the loss of the 91-year-old music chain.

Jordan Adams said: “Gutted the #hmv in St Albans is closing. Our high street is unrecognisable from even two years ago. Empty shops everywhere.”

Cllr Jacob Quagliozzi also wrote: “#HMV shop unit one of the best locations in St Albans though. Wonder who will fill?”

While elsewhere in the city centre Blockbuster, which also recently called in administrators, dodged closure, the branch in the High Street in Harpenden is to cease trading.

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The DVD and video games rental company announced they intended to close 164 stores, which will mean staff in the affected stores face redundancy.

Customers have been reassured they will be notified in advance so that they can return their outstanding rental items.

Blockbuster in London Road, St Albans, will continue to trade as usual while administrators Deloitte continue discussions with potential bidders.

Joint administrator Lee Manning said: “We have continued to review the performance of individual stores since our appointment a month ago and have concluded that further closures are necessary in order to restructure the company for sale.

“We would like to thank the company’s employees for their support and professionalism during this difficult time and we are also grateful for the continued support of customers.

“We are in discussions with a number of parties interested in purchasing all or parts of the business and will update on progress in due course.”

And to complete the triple whammy of bleak news for the economy, yesterday fashion retailer Republic, which has an outlet in The Maltings Shopping Centre, fell into administration.

This came following poor trading since the autumn and a rapid decline in sales in late January. Republic has 121 stores in the UK and employs 2,500 people.

Joint administrator Hunter Kelly said: “The impact on cash flows has resulted in the business being unable to continue to operate outside of an insolvency process. Unfortunately, it has been necessary to make 150 employees at the head office in Leeds redundant.

“We will continue to trade Republic, with a view to selling the business as a going concern.”

Last month camera chain Jessops in The Maltings brought down their shutters for good after its sales were hit by increasing competition from internet retailers.