Blockbuster’s collapse into administration is the case of another of Britain’s embattled retailers seeing their business slip away to online retailers. A run of some of the highest profile retail collapses since the demise of Woolworths in 2008 has deepened the crisis for Britain’s high streets.
The biggest failure of recent months was the demise of consumer electronics chain Comet, resulting in the loss of 6,900 jobs after administrator Deloitte closed all the stores without finding a buyer.
The last remaining Comet stores shut just before Christmas. The collapse cost a total of 6,895 jobs. With insufficient funds raised from the winding down of the chain, the government will have to pick up the tab for £23.2 million of outstanding redundancy pay, accrued holiday pay and pay in lieu of notice. A further £26.2m has been lost in unpaid tax to HM Revenue and Customs.
Other chains to go into administration in recent months have included sports retailer JJB Sports, the outdoor retail chain Blacks – later rescued by JD Sports Fashion for £20m – and budget fashion chain Peacocks, which saw 388 of around 600 stores saved in a deal with Edinburgh Woollen Mill.
Jessops was the first high-profile retail casualty of 2013 after suffering from online competition and a boom in camera phones.
Administrators closed all shops in the chain with the loss of 1,370 jobs.
Branches of the stricken music chain HMV remain open despite Deloitte being appointed as administrator on Monday. The company had suffered dismal Christmas sales.