Irelands Number 1 Entertainment Store
|Products||Retailing and renting of VHS tapes DVDs, Blu-rays, and Video Games|
Xtra-vision is Ireland's largest chain of DVD/Blu-ray rental stores and entertainment retailing company, founded in 1979 by Richard Murphy. It was previously operated by US company Blockbuster. The company is now operated in the Republic of Ireland by Hilco Capital Ireland which also operates HMV in Ireland. Many Xtra-Vision stores in Ireland now trade as HMV-Xtravision, offering many of the same items as the bigger HMV stores.
Xtra-vision went into financial difficulties in the 1990s . The company went into receivership and was bought by businessman Peter O'Grady Walshe who later sold on the company to US giant Blockbuster.
The chain was run by Blockbuster from 1996, the chain never rebranded, citing market research that the Xtra-vision name was better known and more respected than Blockbuster. Even in Northern Ireland the Blockbuster name was not used as it is in the rest of the UK. The few Xtra-vision stores outside of Ireland — those in Manchester, London and New Hampshire were rebranded to Blockbuster after the takeover.
The company was involved in what was once Ireland's largest corporate insolvency, with massive expansion of their retail network causing a massive increase in their stock price on the Irish Stock Exchange. The company's value reached IR£27 million, but the low turnovers in the video rental market meant that there was no cash to continue their huge expansion—up to 10 new stores a week—and the company became insolvent with its shares valued at 1/8 of a penny on its sale to Cambridge Investments, who in turn went bankrupt and the business was sold for IR£12m to a consortium of Montague Private Equity, 3i, and the partners behind NCV (a local wholesaler of videos, etc..). Less than 2 years later the consortium sold out to Blockbuster. The failure of the group, in both guises, was notable enough to be mentioned in Dáil debates in 1994.
The company has an exclusive deal meaning that any movie with funding from the Irish Film Board will initially be provided for rental and sale solely through their network of stores.
In August 2009 Blockbuster sold off its Irish operations to Birchhall Investments.
Receivership and sale to Hilco
On 29 April 2013 the company announced that it was to enter receivership with Luke Charleton and Colin Farquharson, of Ernst & Young. On May, 07, 2013 the receivers announced that 20 stores will close throughout Ireland with a loss of up to 120 jobs. These stores were closed due to trading losses because of fall in revenue. Xtra-vision was sold to Hilco Capital Ireland in June 2013 for an undisclosed sum. On 30 August 2013, Hilco announced that 26 Xtra-vision stores would be dual-branded with HMV).
Xbox One release controversy
When the Xbox One was released, Xtra-vision gained negative media attention due to their policy of forcing customers who had pre-ordered the console to purchase an additional game in order to get their console. After media attention and backlash on social media websites, Ireland's National Consumer Agency launched an investigation into Xtra-vision's practices. Xtra-vision has since reversed this policy, and announced that refunds are available for those who have already purchased an additional game with their pre-ordered console.
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- "Exchange Bill, 1994: Second Stage". Dáil Éireann — Volume 445. Historical-debates.oireachtas.ie. 13 October 1994. Retrieved 2013-09-05.
- O'Halloran, Barry (2011-11-25). "Xtra-vision losses top €3m but firm on track to show profit". The Irish Times. Retrieved 2012-05-28.
- "Joint receivers appointed to Xtra-Vision". RTÉ News. 30 April 2013. Retrieved 2013-09-05.
- "114 jobs to go as some Xtra-vision stores close". RTÉ News. 7 May 2013. Retrieved 2013-09-05.
- "Xtra-vision sold to HMV owners Hilco Capital". rte.ie. Retrieved 11 June 2013.
- Cook, Chris (2013-08-30). "HMV brand to expand in Ireland thanks to Xtra-vision alliance". Complete Music Update. Retrieved 2013-09-05.
- Duffy, Rónán (2013-11-26). "Xtra-vision reverses policy on pre-ordered Xbox One consoles". Business ETC. Retrieved 2013-11-26.
- Pope, Conor (2013-11-26). "Xtra-vision forced into U-turn over Xbox sale". The Irish Times. Retrieved 2013-11-26.
- Fennelly, Gary (2013-11-26). "Xtra-vision hits rewind on XBoxOne and PS4 pre-order policy after backlash from angry gamers". Belfast Telegraph. Retrieved 2013-11-26.