Stricken music giant HMV has called in the administrators, prompting fears for the future of Harrogate’s town centre store.
Anxious staff at the Cambridge Street site, although not allowed to talk to the press, have been waiting desperately for news as their futures hang in the balance.
But, say administrators Deloitte, they are actively seeking a buyer for the business and will continue to trade in the meantime.
“HMV is an iconic retailer and continues to be a very popular brand, but the market is changing rapidly and conditions are currently very tough,” said spokesman Nick Edwards.
“We appreciate the cooperation and support from the staff, customers, suppliers and landlords at what is clearly a difficult time.”
The 92-year-old music chain’s website was suspended after its announcement on Tuesday. A sign on its doors in Harrogate says that all gift vouchers are now also invalid - a move which has sparked much debate.
“It’s a real shame,” said Jake Stephenson, 18, from near Starbeck. “A lot of money was spent over Christmas, now there will be people going without presents.”
The Small Tall Gallery, on Twitter, said: “There’s something criminal about HMV selling vouchers pre Christmas when CEOs knew this was on cards.”
HMV has 223 stores and employs 4,123 staff who are waiting to hear if their jobs have been saved.
Emma-Louise Trotter said it would be a “real loss” if Harrogate was to lose its store.
“I bought all my DVDs, headphones and speakers from there - really great staff with wonderful knowledge.”
But 19-year-olds Chloe Wells and Ben Glover say the demise of the music chain was “inevitable”.
“Everything is downloaded now,” said the pair, from Pateley Bridge and Jennyfields.
“If you can do it from home, why not? HMV has always been about CDs and DVDs, but that’s a thing of the past.”
Stephen Petrie, 28, of Wetherby, and Mark Chapman, 27, of northern Harrogate, said it was a “foregone conclusion”.
“It’s come as no surprise,” they said. “It can’t compete with the internet, it’s been on the cards for a year or more.
“It’s a sad realisation, but it was inevitable.”
Darley couple Caroline, 26, and Paul Whenman, 37, agree.
“They missed the boat. They just didn’t move quick enough,” they said.
“It’s so much easier to download these days. I can’t remember the last time I bought a CD.”