GAME CEO Martyn Gibbs has confirmed that the retailer is interested in purchasing 45 HMV stores, after the entertainment chain officially entered administration this week.
Speaking to the Financial Times, Gibbs said: "We will constantly review our property portfolio based on what's available. I would not rule out any stores becoming available, be that through an administration or normal property deals."
The FT also spoke to people familiar with the matter who said GAME was not interested in all 239 HMV stores, but at those locations where GAME lacked a presence, pegging the number at somewhere between 40 and 45.
GAME, which is owned by OpCapita is not the only investor to show interest in HMV. Also according to the FT, more than 50 potential buyers have surfaced since the store entered administration with chief executive Trevor Moore saying he is "confident" that the retailer will continue to exist in some form.
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GAME itself was rescued from administration by OpCapita last April, after declining sales forced the chain to close 277 stores and sack 2,100 employees. It has since seen a drastic turnaround, with Gibbs saying that GAME had beaten its expectations for the 2012 Christmas period and the company expected to hit its target earnings of £20 million before interest, tax, depreciation and amortisationbefore interest, tax, depreciation and amortisation by its year end in July.
After failing to raise £300m in extra revenue from investors, HMV has appointed administrators Deloitte to manage its assets. More than 4,500 jobs are at stake across the chain's 239 stores, with many outlets now offering 25 percent discounts on everything in stock.
Gift vouchers are not longer being accepted by HMV, but The Guardian has reported that the retailer continued to sell gift cards despite mounting financial difficulties. Barrister Sir Tony Baldry told the Guardian that "[HMV] directors and management must have known that the company was at very real risk of failure" but that they continued to sell gift cards "all through Christmas and up until the day they went into administration".
Baldry continued saying that HMV's practices were "more than unfair" and that there was a "legitimate questions" over whether the company was guilty of "obtaining property by deception, ie offences against the Theft Act."
A spokesperson for HMV has responded to Baldry's claims, explaining that the company believed it would not be entering receivership:
"Until as late as early afternoon on Monday, the directors believed that they had a reasonable prospect of avoiding insolvency and were satisfied that they were complying with all of their legal obligations including in respect of gift cards," explained the spokesperson. "When it became clear to the board late on Monday afternoon that they had no option than to file for administration, they issued immediate instructions to all stores to stop selling gift cards."
Andrew Johnson, the director general of the UK Gift Card and Voucher Association, said that many retailers sell up to 60 percent of the £4bn of vouchers sold in the UK every year during the Christmas period.
Various estimates indicated that up to £100m pounds could have been wasted on now useless HMV gift vouchers.
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