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Over 1,000 jobs at risk as Xtra-Vision goes into receivership

OVER a thousand jobs at Xtra-Vision are in jeopardy with a receiver appointed to the company today.

The video and electronics retailing chain has been in financial difficulties for the past few years as it struggled with high rents, declining trade and the impact of illegal video downloading.

Luke Charleton and Colin Farquharson, of Ernst & Young, were appointed joint receivers.

In a statement Ernst & Young said: "It is the receiver’s intention to work with the directors to ensure that the company continues to trade as normal, with a view to selling the business as a going concern."

Retail Excellence Ireland said the receivership Xtra-Vision was the result of a lack of focus on the part of Government on the needs of the domestic economy. 

“While we welcome the work of Government to promote Foreign Direct Investment, we believe a similar level of intensity and ingenuity must now be applied by Government to the needs of our domestic economy,”  said REI chief executive David Fitzsimons.

The move comes just two years after the retail chain went into examinership in a bid to save it. That resulted in rents it pays on a number of properties being slashed in an effort to help it survive. Its annual rent roll was cut by about €5m.

That company exited examinership with a fresh €8m cash injection from its parent firm, Birchall Investments. The chain is headed by financier Peter O’Grady-Walshe, who is a shareholder in Birchall along with businessman Nicholas Furlong.

Xtra-vision emerged from examinership following a commitment of an €8m investment from parent Birchall Investments in 2011.

There are 151 Xtra-vision stores, down from 165 in 2011. It employs  1,050 people.

It’s understood that Xtra-vision had continued to find trading extremely difficult despite exiting the examinership process in 2011. It had been closing a number of stores but was lining up a significant new investment in a digital strategy.

The company generates most of its revenue from the sale of electronic items rather than the rental of DVDs and games.

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