The company said in a statement late Monday that it is unable to trade "outside of insolvency protection" and would go into a type of bankruptcy called administration.
HMV employs more than 4,000 people and used to be a dominant player in Britain's music distribution business.
But the chain failed to adapt to upheaval caused by the rise of the Internet and has spent the past couple of years shedding stores and selling subsidiaries.
HMV sold its Waterstones bookstores in mid-2011 and has made forays into the live music and ticketing businesses.
The company has around 200 stores in Britain, Ireland, Singapore, and Hong Kong.
UK's HMV Group plc sold HMV Canada to Hilco UK, a British retail restructuring specialist, in 2011.