It's sad, but I don't think this morning's announcement from HMV that it's closing 60 stores after a rotten Christmas will come as any surprise.
Blaming everything - except the horrible atmosphere in its confused and curiously stocked-stores - HMV warned it was in danger of breaking the terms of its loans:
"The challenging entertainment markets, combined with the severe weather over our peak trading period have had a negative impact on our trading year to date. In addition, there are well-reported consumer headwinds as we enter 2011," said the company. Many retailers have warned that Britain's austerity measures, such as the VAT rise, will hurt them this year.The sort of cash-generative business that had like-for-like December sales plunge over 13% between 2009 and 2010.
"Given the difficult trading conditions over Christmas and the likely outturn for the year, the board now expects that compliance with the April covenant test under the group's bank facility will be tight and is taking further mitigating actions during the next four months to address this," HMV added.
Chief executive Simon Fox insisted that HMV remained "a profitable and cash-generative business and a powerful entertainment brand".
No word yet on which shops will be holding closing-down sales.