Major cinema chain collapses into administration with 150 jobs lost

Clydebank's multiplex is one of only seven across the UK which remains open.

Empire Cinemas chain collapses into administration with 150 jobs lost Google Maps

A major UK cinema chain has collapsed into administration, with jobs across Scotland and England on the line.

The Empire Cinemas chain suffered during the pandemic and was seeing a dwindling number of visitors over the last few years, its chief executive has said.

Administrators BDO said that six cinemas across England have been closed, with 150 jobs lost – the site in Clydebank currently remains open.

Cinemas in Bishop’s Stortford, Catterick Garrison, Sunderland, Swindon, Walthamstow and Wigan have closed.

Empire Cinemas runs 12 theatres under the Empire brand and two Tivoli-branded cinemas in Bath and Cheltenham, employing 437 staff across England and Scotland prior to the closures.

The chain will keep its remaining seven sites open while it seeks a buyer for the business, BDO said.

The cinemas staying open are located in Birmingham, Clydebank, High Wycombe, Ipswich and Sutton, and the two Tivoli sites.

In a note on the company’s website, Empire chief executive Justin Ribbons said: “As a consequence of Covid-19, where we were mandated by Government to close down our cinema chain in its entirety for protracted periods in 2020 and 2021, this left us with a high fixed cost base and no income.

“Cinema attendance levels have not yet returned to pre-Covid-19 levels and the operating environment remains extremely challenging.

“It has been a difficult economic environment for any business to manage through without long-term damage and having exhausted all other available options for the business, we firmly believe that this process can be a platform to restructure the business and preserve as many of our cinemas and the maximum number of jobs as possible.”

People who have bought advanced tickets for films at the affected cinemas will be refunded.

Gift cards, ticket e-codes, guest passes and readmission tickets will be valid at the sites remaining open.

Business restructuring partners Tony Nygate, John Strowger and Danny Dartnaill were appointed as joint administrators at BDO.

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