Iconic British music retailer Hmv is on the brink of going bust.
Bosses of the store chain, which has been in business for 91 years and boasts 250 outlets across the U.K., have called in administrators after a slump in profits blamed on online trading.
Hmv shops are no longer honouring gift vouchers, and around 4,500 jobs are at risk if a buyer cannot be found and the retailer closes its doors for good.
The news has stunned the music industry in the U.K., with Blur rocker Graham Coxon taking to his Twitter.com account to write, "They'll be closing down musicians soon... It ain't gonna get any better. One day they might come up with an alternative to shuvving (sic) everything into a computer... Eggs... Baskets... Digital is a con. Bye bye hmv... the more they tried to keep up the less we visited them. Oh well eh!"
Rapper Professor Green writes, "Hmv bankrupt. we may as well just give up on any medium that involves hard copy and get on with it. Sad times," and fellow hip-hop star Wretch 32 adds, "Hmv: This will affect music forever from the artists to the consumers, also feel sorry for every1 (sic) who's lost a job. I can't believe it's come to this... Will in-store signings still exist? Will physical sales still exist?"
Singer Gabriella Cilmi concludes, "Sad about Hmv... Now we gotta (sic) join hands and support our independent record stores," while a post on Goldfrapp's Twitter page reads, "Gonna (sic) miss visiting Hmv when I'm in town I liked having nerdy film chats with the guys in there."
A spokesman for Hmv, famous for its iconic 'Nipper the dog' gramophone logo, says in a statement, "The board regrets to announce that it has been unable to reach a position where it feels able to continue to trade outside of insolvency protection and in the circumstances therefore intends to file notice to appoint administrators to the company and certain of its subsidiaries with immediate effect."