The administrators of U.K. entertainment retail chain Zavvi have announced the closure of a further 18 stores across the country with immediate effect. The remaining 74 stores in the U.K. will continue trading while a buyer is sought.

The latest round of closures will lead to the redundancy of 353 employees. It follows the closure of 22 stores on Jan. 8.

Tom Jack, joint administrator at Ernst & Young, said in a statement: "Despite having received in excess of 70 expressions of interest, we have not received any offers for the store portfolio as a whole. Consequently, with reducing stock levels we have had to manage the cost base of the business and close a further 18 stores.

"We will however continue to trade the remaining Zavvi stores with a view to selling all or part of the Zavvi business as a going concern. We remain optimistic that current sale negotiations will prove successful and that a sale can be achieved."

Zavvi went into administration on Dec. 24, roughly equivalent to Chapter 11 bankruptcy protection in the U.S. The retailer -- launched 16 months ago following a management buyout of the Virgin Megastore arm of the Virgin Group in the U.K. -- faced serious supply problems as a result of Woolworths Group's wholesale entertainment distributor EUK going into administration in November.