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400 jobs go as Zavvi closes 18 stores

More than 400 workers at high street music retailer Zavvi are to lose their jobs after administrators today announced the closure of 18 stores.

The announcement came as administrators Ernst & Young said the sale of five outlets to rival HMV and a further five to Head Entertainment would preserve 271 jobs.

Zavvi will now disappear from the high street as the last 18 stores are earmarked for closure before Friday, with the loss of 446 jobs.

E&Y said another three stores were expected to be sold to Head on February 20 and the deal also included the sale of all remaining Zavvi stock.

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

It was the country's largest independent entertainment retailer, with 114 stores in the UK and 11 in Ireland and more than 2,300 full-time staff.

The stores set to close include its London Oxford Street branch, which employs 140 people. Zavvi's flagship Piccadilly store, where 110 people worked, was closed last month.

Bristol's Cabot Circus outlet, which employs 30 staff, Milton Keynes, where 35 people work, and the Manchester Trafford Centre, employing 24 people, are also among the closures.

Tom Jack, joint administrator of Zavvi UK, said the sale of up to 13 stores was a "fantastic result for the employees and customers of the stores concerned".

He said the deal with Head - a business jointly led by former Zavvi chief executive Simon Douglas - would ensure the transfer of a total of 249 jobs, assuming the final three stores were also sold.

Those already sold to Head are Dundee, Leeds, the Liverpool One, Manchester Arndale and the Bluewater, Kent shopping centres. Further outlets in Bristol Cribbs Causeway, Bristol Broadmead and Cardiff are due to complete by Friday.

Administrators said the stores would no longer trade under the Zavvi name.

HMV has now bought a total of 19 stores in the UK and Ireland, securing 380 jobs.

It is set to rebrand the new additions within the next two weeks.

The new HMV stores are in Croydon and Fulham Broadway in London, Buchanan Street in Glasgow, Hastings and Nottingham.

Mr Jack added: "I would like to thank all of Zavvi's staff and customers for their commitment and continued support for the business throughout the administration.

"Whilst it has not been possible to secure a sale of the business as a going concern, we are delighted to have been able to secure continued employment for 629 Zavvi employees."

Fate of remaining Zavvi stores

Stores being sold to HMV:

Croydon (22 permanent employees)

Fulham Broadway (17)

Glasgow Buchanan Street (33)

Hastings (15)

Nottingham (24)

Stores being sold to Head Entertainment:

Bluewater (48)

Dundee (13)

Leeds (24)

Liverpool One (41)

Manchester Arndale (34)

Stores set to be sold to Head but still awaiting confirmation:

Bristol Cribbs Causeway (27)

Bristol Broadmead (25)

Cardiff (37)

Stores closing:

Belfast Victoria Square (21)

Bishopsgate (12)

Bloomsbury (11)

Bradford (15)

Brighton (28)

Bristol Cabot Circus (30)

Dartford (4)

Falkirk (8)

Leicester (28)

Maidenhead (8)

Manchester Trafford Centre (24)

Middlesbrough (13)

Milton Keynes (35)

Northampton (13)

London Oxford Street (140)

Reading (24)

Sheffield (21)

Walsall (11)