UPDATE 2: Deloitte Ireland has been appointed receiver of HMV Ireland, it's been confirmed.
The jobs of 300 staff are now at risk.
HMV's Republic of Ireland stores were closed today without explanation. Now we know why. The shops will remain closed until Deloitte Ireland assesses the viability of the company. In a statement it said it will do its best to find a buyer for the business.
UPDATE 1: All HMV Ireland stores have been closed temporarily.
Eurogamer reader Candyflipsix alerted us to the move, which we've confirmed with HMV. 16 stores have closed their doors, but HMV told us they will re-open shortly.
It is unclear why the stores have shut. HMV in the Republic of Ireland is a separate corporate entity to the UK business and has not entered administration, or examinership, which is a similar process.
The National Consumer Agency has called on HMV to honour gift vouchers. According to a source who spoke to The Journal, it is likely an examiner will be appointed to the Ireland business.
ORIGINAL STORY: An angry grandfather walked out of a HMV store yesterday with three games after staff refused to accept his gift voucher.
Despite slipping into administration this week HMV stores continue to trade, but gift vouchers have been deemed worthless - angering many who received them at Christmas.
Eric Nolan, from Dublin, bought his grandson Cian a €40 HMV gift voucher for Christmas, but was told by staff in the Henry Street store it was worthless. Nolan had brought to the counter Euro Truck Simulator 2 (€22.40), The Sims 3 Town Life (€11.99) and Rail Simulator (€28).
At the till a 25 per cent discount was applied, reducing the total from €62.39 to €46.80. He then presented the voucher but was told it wasn't valid. So Eric simply took the games and walked out.
Security staff followed him down the street, according to the Irish Independent, but failed to prevent him making off with the goods. "Somebody has made a conscious decision not to pay out on vouchers and it's despicable," Mr. Nolan told the paper.
He intends to post the voucher and €6.80 to the store. "We are a nation of sheep - but I was determined to win this," he said. "HMV have taken hundreds of thousands of euro from the Irish people this Christmas and we shouldn't put up with it."
HMV is facing growing anger over its decision to refuse gift vouchers, and many customers believe the company should have stopped selling them in early December after warning investors of the coming crisis. Yesterday police were called to a HMV store in Oxford to sort out a dispute sparked when staff refused to accept vouchers from two customers.
Finance director Ian Kenyonn said the company was confident of its legal position, having checked with lawyers back in December. "We had a reasonable expectation [in the runup to Christmas] of addressing our issues with the banks," he said.
Administrator Deloitte insisted HMV would not accept gift cards and vouchers as long as it was in administration, but said any new buyer may honour them.