Entertainment retailer HMV is reported to be on the verge of entering administration, endangering thousands of jobs.
It comes just six weeks after the chain opened a new store in Boston, returning to the unit in the Pescod Square Shopping Centre it vacated in 2013.
That store was one of 66 it closed nationwide after sliding into administration at the start of that year (before being acquired by its current owner, Hilco).
The group, which trades from around 130 stores and employs more than 2,000 staff, is set to appoint corporate undertakers at KPMG as administrators amid a cash crisis, it has been reported.
High business rates, weak consumer confidence and the rise of online streaming services are all said to taken their toll on HMV.
Paul McGowan, executive chairman of HMV and Hilco, said: “During the key Christmas trading period the market for DVD fell by over 30 per cent compared to the previous year and, whilst HMV performed considerably better than that, such a deterioration in a key sector of the market is unsustainable.
“HMV has clearly not been insulated from the general malaise of the UK high street and has suffered the same challenges with business rates and other government-centric policies which have led to increased fixed costs in the business.
“Business rates alone represent an annual cost to HMV in excess of £15 million. Even an exceptionally well-run and much-loved business such as HMV cannot withstand the tsunami of challenges facing UK retailers over the last 12 months on top of such a dramatic change in consumer behaviour in the entertainment market.”
The failure of another major high street name before the year is up caps a miserable 12 months for the retail sector.
The likes of Poundworld, Toys’R’Us and Maplin have all gone bust this year, while heavyweights Marks & Spencer and Debenhams have announced plans to close hundreds of stores.
Several others - including Superdry, Carpetright and Card Factory - have all issued profit warnings.