Empire Cinemas folds with six UK locations shut down and 150 jobs lost

Empire Cinemas collapses into administration with six UK locations shut down and 150 jobs lost

Empire Cinemas has been forced to close six of its UK locations with immediate effect after entering into administration, it emerged today. 

Some 150 jobs have been lost by the closures in what will be seen as a blow for cinema-goers across the country. 

The firm – which owns 14 cinemas with 129 screens – is holding onto its other sites in the hopes that it will find a buyer. 

The Empire Cinemas locations that are closed are in Bishop’s Stortford, Catterick Garrison, Sunderland, Swindon, Walthamstow and Wigan. 

Plans to reopen the Sutton Coldfield location, which has been out of operation since November 2020, have also been abandoned. 

The Empire Cinema locations that will close today – and the ones that will remain open 



Justin Ribbons, CEO of Empire Cinemas, said: ‘As a consequence of Covid-19, we found ourselves in a position where we were mandated by Government to close down our cinema chain in its entirety for protracted periods in 2020 and 2021, leaving 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, with extraordinary levels of utility costs and rates, and persistently high levels of inflation leading to increased costs and a squeeze on discretionary spending by consumers which has inevitably created profitability issues for the group.

‘The decision to appoint administrators has not been taken lightly but will give us the best chance to protect the viable parts of the business and secure as many jobs as possible.’

The cinemas that will stay open are Birmingham, Clydebank, High Wycombe, Ipswich and Sutton – plus the two Tivoli cinemas in Bath and Cheltenham, which are owned by the group. 

A notice sign stuck to the window of the cinema in Greenbridge Retail Park in Swindon explained how tickets purchased would be refunded, reports the Swindon Advertiser.  

It reads: ‘Refunds for advance tickets bought online and those purchased at the box office have been refunded immediately.

‘Gift cards, tickets, e-codes, guest passes and readmission tickets remain valid for redemption at trading Empire Cinemas at Birmingham, Clydebank, High Wycombe, Ipswich and Sutton, but refunds are not available.

‘Customers can email [email protected] for assistance.’

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