Sunday 21 January 2018

One in three Xtra-vision outlets set to close

Roisin Burke

ONE-THIRD of Xtra-vision stores are set to shut, with 200 jobs on the line, this paper has learnt.

Recovery specialist Hilco paid around €8m for the movie rental chain, buying it out of receivership last week, with plans to retain as much of the business and staff as possible.

However, out of 130 stores on the island of Ireland, 40 are set to shut, with closing-down sales planned to sell off stock.

Hilco boss Paul McGowan said the company wouldn't comment on plans at this stage. "We need to see how the landlords move forward with us first," he said.

The remaining 90 stores are set to continue – provided discounts on rents can be thrashed out. Reductions of between 20 and 50 per cent will be sought. Lease deals involving rent-free introductory periods could be involved.

Of 800 current jobs, 600 are understood to be safe, including those at Xtra-vision's Tallaght head office and warehouse and across 90 stores. It is believed that some closures and job losses are inevitable.

Three-quarters of the chain's employees are in the Republic of Ireland.

Despite rising numbers of consumers opting to download both music and movies online, Hilco, which now owns both Xtra-vision and HMV, believes there is still plenty of value to be extracted from bricks and-mortar retail and physical product in store.

Whether there will be synergies between Xtra-vision and HMV remains to be seen.

London-based firm Hilco, which is headed by Larry Howard in Ireland, is pursuing further Irish distressed asset buys.

Irish Independent

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