Sunday 5 January 2020 3:41 pm

HMV and Debenhams to shut stores as high street makes difficult start to the year

HMV and Debenhams have confirmed that they will close stores in a challenging start to the year for UK high streets.

Music store HMV said that it would shut three stores at the end of January, new new tenants set to take up the leases immediately.

Read more: High street sees slight increase in December sales

A further ten are under threat of closure as the firm comes under pressure to secure new deals with landlords.

In a statement, the retailer said that “extortionate” business rates meant that some stores were no longer commercially viable.

The three stores set to close are in Bury St Edmunds, Glasgow and Nuneaton.

Debenhams, another stalwart of the British high street, has said that it will shut 19 stores between 11 and 25 January, with an additional 28 stores will close in 2021.

The department store entered administration in April 2019 in a bid to reduce its debt.

Debenhams chief executive Stefaan Vansteenkiste said in a statement: “We are working hard to implement the transformation of Debenhams.

Read more: 16,000 shops closed in 2019

“Despite a challenging retail environment, thanks to our colleagues’ hard work and our investor group’s commitment we are progressing with our turnaround.”

The closures mark a sobering start to the new decade for the high street, which remains in dire straits after the closing of names such as Maplin, Toys R Us and Poundworld.

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