Entertainment store HMV has become the latest high street casualty as it called in administrators.
Following discussions among the music retailer's directors, the company last night released a statement announcing it was ceasing trading in ordinary shares immediately - and appointing accountancy giant Deloitte to take control.
HMV, which employs more than 4,000 people, said in a statement: "The board regrets to announce that it has been unable to reach a position where it feels able to continue to trade outside of insolvency protection, and in the circumstances therefore intends to file notice to appoint administrators to the company and certain of its subsidiaries with immediate effect.
"The directors of the company understand that it is the intention of the administrators, once appointed, to continue to trade whilst they seek a purchaser for the business."
Many celebrities and music fans tweeted their sadness:
In the run-up to Christmas HMV's boss Trevor Moore warned the entertainment group was in trouble as he revealed the chain was in talks with banks over its future following worse-than-expected trading over the festive period.
The chief executive said market conditions suggested the group, which has 238 stores in the UK and Ireland, would fail to meet expectations for the year to April, so would not meet the terms of its bank loans.
HMV said like-for-like sales fell 10.2% in the 26 weeks to October 27, last year, as its pre-tax loss narrowed to £36.1 million, compared to £50.1 million the previous year.
Shares tumbled 39% after the dismal results were published, giving the retailer a market value of just £10.1 million.
Moore joined the group from camera chain Jessops, which itself went into administration last week at the cost of 1,370 jobs across its 187 stores.
Suppliers including Universal Music came to HMV's rescue in January 2011 with a deal which helped the retailer shed some of its huge debt pile.
Its struggle has seen it sell off several parts of its business, including the Waterstones book retailer, to reduce its debt pile, while closing loss-making stores.
HMV also offloaded its Hammersmith Apollo venue for £32 million, which enabled it to thrash out a new deal with lenders.
Back in May, last year, when former boss Simon Fox was still in charge, the group said it was looking for pre-tax profits of at least £10 million for the 2012/13 financial year.
Gregory Mead, chief executive of Musicmetric, the global music analysts, commented: “It’s a sad but inevitable fate for a much-loved stalwart of the music industry.
"But where retailers like John Lewis have embraced the internet – building customers through its Click and Collect service – HMV simply failed to adapt to the changing tastes of music fans and the seismic shift we’ve seen as everything has gone digital.
“While figures from the 2012 Digital Music Index showed file-sharing to be rife right across the UK, the upshot of this is that there are millions of fans accessing music each day.
"The challenge for retailers like HMV has been to find ways to tap into this – but you’d be hard pressed to be able to walk into an HMV store and buy songs directly on to your iPod.
“The changing face of music, and that digital technology has overhauled the way we interact with records, means that artists can engage directly with fans, meaning physical retailers have needed to evolve as well.
"While previously it was all about CD releases and the Sunday chart show, now the most important thing is knowing where your fanbase is and what drives them so you can market to them directly and maximise revenues from a myriad of sources.”