22 Zavvi shops close

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The Independent Online

Almost 180 staff at troubled music retailer Zavvi lost their jobs today after administrators closed 22 stores.

Ernst & Young said the closures would be effective immediately.

Joint administrator Tom Jack said: "Despite record consumer demand since Christmas, it is no longer possible to support continued trading across all of the Zavvi stores.

"Unfortunately the current difficulties faced on the UK high street seem to be discouraging retailers from investing in a significant number of new stores."

He said the 178 workers would receive support from the Insolvency Service's Redundancy Payment Office and Jobcentre Plus.

The remaining 92 Zavvi stores will continue to trade as efforts to sell the business continue.

Administrators said the workers facing redundancy today were permanent employees.

There were no exact figures for temporary staff, but these have already left the stores after their contracts ran out on 3 January.

Zavvi - the former Virgin Megastore chain - fell into administration on Christmas Eve after it was crippled by the collapse of Woolworths' Entertainment UK wholesaling division.

EUK was the company's main supplier and its demise left Zavvi unable to take customer orders.

Zavvi's remaining outlets are now set to slash the price of their products by a further 20 per cent to 50 per cent from tomorrow.

Mr Jack said administrators would continue to attempt to sell all or part of the business as a going concern.

"So far we have received 60 expressions of interest, which we continue to actively pursue," he said.

"We are extremely grateful to the staff and management at all stores and the head office for their fantastic support throughout this difficult time."

Stores set to close include the Liverpool Clayton Square branch, which employs 28 people, Chatham, which has 13 staff, and the Sterling Mills shopping centre in Clackmannanshire, where there are 10 employees.