An HMV sign is pictured outside a branch of the music retailer in central London on January 15, 2013.

 London -

Its demise has been widely blamed on online shopping.

And on Thursday the internet caused further problems for struggling HMV - when staff hijacked the company’s Twitter account to post a blow-by-blow account of mass sackings at its head office.

Angry staff gave live updates of the “mass execution” at the beleaguered music firm’s London headquarters.

Around 190 workers both there and across its distribution centres were fired.

It appears to be the first time that the unfolding drama inside a British household name company has been played out for all to read on Twitter.

The incident triggered panic among anxious HMV executives who were seen marching around the office pleading for advice on how to delete the tweets and shut down the @hmvtweets feed.

The first tweet read: “We’re tweeting live from inside HR where we’re all being fired! Exciting!!”

One minute later came the update: “There are over 60 of us being fired at once! Mass execution of loyal employees who love the brand.”

Another followed: “Just overheard our marketing director (he’s staying folks) ask ‘How do I shut down twitter?’.” Others said that they had been prevented from saying anything about the state of the company before because of their contracts.

One message, spread over two posts, read: “Under usual circumstances, we’d never dare do such a thing as this. However, when the company you dearly love is being ruined and those hard working individuals, who wanted to make HMV great again, have mostly been fired, there seemed no other choice.”

Minutes later it suggested the company’s official Twitter feed was set up by an intern two years ago.

The company managed to delete the tweets by mid-afternoon, however not before they had been re-tweeted thousands of times. Staff at HMV, which employs more than 4 000 people, have been afraid for their future since the chain went into administration two weeks ago.

There are hopes that many of the 239 shops and their staff can be saved through a sale of the business to Hilco, which specialises in rescuing failed brands. Hilco has already purchased HMV’s bank debts, while it is now negotiating to take over the stores.

Its efforts are understood to have the support of a group of music labels and film studios, including Universal Music and Sony.

The industry believes it is vital to keep a national chain of specialist entertainment shops on the High Street to provide competition to web retailers, such as Amazon, and the big supermarkets.

Accountants Deloitte have been appointed as administrators and are overseeing the negotiations and the staff dismissals. It said there have been just over 100 redundancies at head office locations in London, Marlow and Birmingham and around 85 across the distribution network.

Joint administrator Nick Edwards said of the redundancies: “Although such decisions are always difficult, it is a necessary step in restructuring the business to enhance the prospects of securing its future as a going concern.”

He added: “We have been very pleased with the level of interest in the business as a going concern.” - Daily Mail