Cloud over music stores

STAFF at Newham’s HMV stores in Stratford and Beckton are fearing for their jobs after the embattled retailer announced that it will be axing some branches following bleak Christmas sales.

In a statement on Wednesday, HMV Group said that it will close 40 shops across the country this year.The statement caused alarm for staff at the retailer’s two branches at Gallions Reach in Beckton and the Stratford Centre.

One staff member, who preferred to remain anonymous, said: “We haven’t been told anything yet but obviously we are all anxious about our future.”

A spokesman for HMV said no decision had yet been taken on the future of the Newham stores but added the group would be focusing its review on where it operates multiple chains within the same area, as well as those outlets that have been under-performing.

He added that the fate of the two stores would be decided in the “next few weeks”.

While the future of neither shop looks assured, in light of the spokesman’s statement, the odds on survival for the Stratford branch may be stronger given its proximity to the �1.5 billion Westfield Centre, which is scheduled to open in September, and wider regeneration in the area.

HMV also has outlets in Ilford, Romford and Walthamstow serving East Londoners.