The high-street music and DVD chain HMV has announced the appointment of Deloitte as administrator, putting more than 4,000 jobs and the future of its 238 stores in jeopardy.
The collapse of the 92-year-old business follows a difficult few months for the British high street which has seen the failures of Jessops and Comet with the loss of 422 stores and more than 8,000 jobs.
Although HMV's stores will remain open initially, while Deloitte seeks a buyer, there are likely to be widespread closures as a result of the administration.
The company has also confirmed that it will not be accepting vouchers and gift cards, effectively making them worthless.
In recent years HMV has struggled to keep up with internet retailers and supermarkets who, due to their size, can sell CDs and DVDs at cheaper prices.
Before Christmas HMV's boss Trevor Moore warned that the company was in trouble, saying that it would fail to meet expectations for the year to April and would breach the terms of its loan agreements later this month.
In January 2011 HMV was rescued by a deal with suppliers including Universal Music that helped reduce the retailer's huge debt.
However, last week they refused a further request from the company for around £300 million to cover its bank debt and fund an overhaul of the company's business model, the Financial Times reported.
In order to reduce its debt HMV has closed loss-making stores and sold various parts of its business, including Waterstones, and diversified into other areas, such as live venues and consumer electronics.
But analysts said that the collapse of the business is inevitable.
Neil Saunders, managing director of retail consultancy Conlumino, said: "While many failures of recent times have been, at least in part, driven by the economy, HMV's demise is a structural failure.
"In the digital era where 73.4 per cent of music and film are downloaded or bought online, HMV's business model has simply become increasingly irrelevant and unsustainable."
Chuka Umunna MP, Labour's Shadow Business Secretary, said he hoped a way could be found to keep the retailer going.
"HMV is a national institution that has been a feature of our high streets for over 90 years, so this news is deeply worrying.
"For the sake of HMV's employees, we hope a way can be found to keep the business going - the demise of this national institution would be a sad loss to British retail."
A spokesperson for consumer rights organisation Which? said: "If a store goes into administration it may refuse to accept gift vouchers, though this situation may change.
"If they do refuse and you need to make a claim, write to the administrators with proof of your vouchers.
"Unfortunately there is no guarantee that you will get the full value back, and a claim could take some time for the administrators to process."
When a retailer goes into administration the administrators' details will normally be available on their website. HMV has yet to update their website.
Credit & debit card refunds
The Which? spokesperson added: "It is also worth remembering that if you've bought items costing more than £100 on a credit card and the supplier goes bust, you can claim a refund by writing to the credit company with details of your claim."
Similarly, if you've bought gift vouchers on a debit card you might be able to get a refund using the Chargeback scheme.
Chargeback allows you to ask your bank to ask the trader's bank to reverse the transaction and refund you the money.
There is usually no minimum or maximum limit to the amount you can claim. However, there is usually a time limit of 120 days for making a Chargeback claim.
Read more about who to complain to when things go wrong.