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High street music retailer ChoicesUK goes titsup

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The long death march of Britain's bricks and mortar entertainment chains moved a step closer to oblivion today, with the announcement that ChoicesUK is headed into administration.

The Peterborough-based music, film, and gaming group has over 160 stores nationwide and employs 1,650 staff. A spokesman said it has been taking cost-cutting measures and would continue to trade while and administrator is sought. The first choice would be to maintain ChoicesUK as a going concern, he said.

Directors publicly admitted the firm was struggling at Easter and blamed the unseasonally good weather back then. Unlike for online retailers, who yesterday reported a bumper July, the filthy summer doesn't seem to have helped matters, and attempts to find a buyer for the business have failed.

A statement said: "Until very recently, the directors were hopeful that a successful outcome would result. However, despite extensive negotiations, it has not been possible to reach an agreement on terms acceptable to all parties. Therefore, the directors have decided that it is in the best interests of the creditors to seek to appoint Administrators as soon as possible." Trading shares in the group has been suspended on AIM.

ChoicesUK's woes swiftly follow the much-lamented disappearance of Fopp, and leaves only Virgin Megastores and HMV to duke it out for last man standing. In the last four years national chains Andy's Records, MVC, Tower Records, and Music Zone have all hit the buffers too.

As well as pressure from the internet at the younger end of the market, the specialists have suffered as mainstream punters choose to pick up James Blunt's opus with their weekly supermarket grocery shop.

The ChoicesUK administration statement is here. ®

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