BeBop

Virgin Megastore Meltdown?

22 posts in this topic

I was in Tower a couple of weeks ago and couldn't help but think of good 'ol Virgin. As I recall, Chicago and Salt Lake City have closed, and NYC Union Square closes soon. San Francisco was open, last time I passed through town. Phoenix, Denver and Hollywood were open when I went by, but it's been a while since I was in those places.

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I think they will all close eventually. Last year the realty firm Vornado realized that Virgin was paying rent so far below market value that they would actually profit by buying the entire chain, terminating the leases, and re-renting the space they occupied.

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I for one would not shed a tear if the whole Virgin chain closed down. Unlike Tower, they never gave any reason to like them.

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The Virgin chain in the US has never impressed me - always seems very expensive compared with some of the US-based chains. Beardie Branson sold up years ago I think - no doubt he saw the writing on the wall. Their UK operation is better but never my first port-of-call. Their selection of jazz is usually laughable.

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Virgin no longer exists in the UK - the stores were, I believe, bought by some sort of internal employee purchase (apologies, I don't understand take-overs, buyouts etc). They now call themselves 'zavvi' (I'm not sure why!).

The store of there's I went in to was very poor, along with just about every UK record stop outside a handful of independents. Astonishing how quickly this all imploded.

Edited by Bev Stapleton

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Yep. They were too expensive.

Did they ever find anyone to rent the space that Tower on E4th and Broadway, NYC was in? NYC Union Square is only a few block from there. Is anybody renting the old CBGBs? How about other venues in that part of town? My guess is no.

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The Virgin Megastore in Times Square still has a decent selection of jazz. I enjoyed going there on my last visit to New York. I would be sorry to see it close.

That store does seem strangely hostile to its customers though--the employees usually range from unhelpful and unresponsive to a bit surly. I was shocked last time to find a smiling and helpful employee, but perhaps that was explained by the fact that he was an African immigrant. More typical was the time I dared to ask an employee if a particular CD was covered by an ambiguously described sale, and the fellow says he can't help me, and when I persist he starts waving his finger at me and raising his voice at my impertinence.

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and the fellow says he can't help me, and when I persist he starts waving his finger at me and raising his voice at my impertinence.

Appalling - only in Times Square ! I've visited that store a few times - it was a good source for VEEs and Conns in the past. Also Japanese imports. Much preferred Tower Records though.

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I was in Tower a couple of weeks ago ....

I heard they weren't closing the stores outside the U.S. but did some overseas Towers close???

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The last time I visited the Times Square store a couple years back, they chased me and everyone else out of the downstairs section. Shakira was to appear later and they needed the space. :tdown Never got to buy anything that day.

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The last time I visited the Times Square store a couple years back, they chased me and everyone else out of the downstairs section. Shakira was to appear later and they needed the space. :tdown Never got to buy anything that day.

They've since moved the jazz section from the bottom to the middle floor.

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Whenever I browse for CDs in the Union Square Virgin, I get the feeling that I should be wearing a sign that says "I'm a dinosaur". Even on days when the DVD section is hectic and overflowing with people, there's an eerie calm in most of the CD sections.

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In Germany Virgin Megastores closed down or were sold only a year after being opened.

It all depends on the dedication of the sales managers. In Frankfurt city Saturn took over the store, but the CD stock is a far cry from the other Saturn outlet in a suburb which is run by a jazz fan who really knows his business.

Edited by mikeweil

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Virgin no longer exists in the UK - the stores were, I believe, bought by some sort of internal employee purchase (apologies, I don't understand take-overs, buyouts etc). They now call themselves 'zavvi' (I'm not sure why!).

The store of there's I went in to was very poor, along with just about every UK record stop outside a handful of independents. Astonishing how quickly this all imploded.

The rumour is that Branson had to get out from under a sinking ship, or its failure would cast a black mark over his other enterprises in the City. So, apparently, he had to throw £200 million worth of training into the package as a sweetener.

MG

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Virgin no longer exists in the UK - the stores were, I believe, bought by some sort of internal employee purchase (apologies, I don't understand take-overs, buyouts etc). They now call themselves 'zavvi' (I'm not sure why!).

The store of there's I went in to was very poor, along with just about every UK record stop outside a handful of independents. Astonishing how quickly this all imploded.

The rumour is that Branson had to get out from under a sinking ship, or its failure would cast a black mark over his other enterprises in the City. So, apparently, he had to throw £200 million worth of training into the package as a sweetener.

MG

So what did the £200 million train employees to do? How to stock only sure-fire winners?

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Virgin no longer exists in the UK - the stores were, I believe, bought by some sort of internal employee purchase (apologies, I don't understand take-overs, buyouts etc). They now call themselves 'zavvi' (I'm not sure why!).

The store of there's I went in to was very poor, along with just about every UK record stop outside a handful of independents. Astonishing how quickly this all imploded.

The rumour is that Branson had to get out from under a sinking ship, or its failure would cast a black mark over his other enterprises in the City. So, apparently, he had to throw £200 million worth of training into the package as a sweetener.

MG

So what did the £200 million train employees to do? How to stock only sure-fire winners?

A friend sent me a Virgin voucher back in October and I finally got round to trying to buy an album from them in December or so. I looked and looked and looked and looked. Eventually I DID manage to find something in the Cardiff shop - which always used to be a sure place to pick up something - the new one by Orchestre Baobab. The staff training appears to have taught at least one member of staff that it's a good thing to enthuse about the records people are buying. He said he was sure I'd think it was fantastic. I said I already had fifteen of their albums and if the new one was anywhere near as good as the early stuff I'd be very surprised (but pleased). He looked a bit put out at that, but thanks to his share of the two hundred million training package ( :g), he refrained from turfing me out of the shop and even gave me the penny change from the voucher.

So there you are...

Don't shop at Virgin/Zavvi, savvy?

MG

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The Virgin Megastore in Times Square still has a decent selection of jazz. I enjoyed going there on my last visit to New York. I would be sorry to see it close.

I don't have any information that Times Square is closing, only Union Square.

Though I've visited at least ten Virgin Megastores, I've never bought a darn thing

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The Virgin Megastore in Times Square still has a decent selection of jazz. I enjoyed going there on my last visit to New York. I would be sorry to see it close.

I don't have any information that Times Square is closing, only Union Square.

I do - I hear that the entire chain is on the way out. The realty company that bought them is more interested in the space they occupy than the CD business.

Did they ever find anyone to rent the space that Tower on E4th and Broadway, NYC was in? NYC Union Square is only a few block from there. Is anybody renting the old CBGBs? How about other venues in that part of town? My guess is no.

In the case of CBGB's, the answer is no, but there is a caveat. They originally had the space on the market for $30k/month (which got you all 500 or so sq ft of it), but apparently they have recently decided to sell the entire building. That being the case, I'm not sure that they are even trying to lease CBGB's anymore.

They temporarily rented the 4th and BWay section of Tower to Toys R Us at Xmas. They were there for about two months and vacated a couple weeks ago. The 4th and Lafayette section of the store was temporarily leased to a Halloween costume store similar to the ones up on third that are open year round. They cleared out in November. Both spaces are now back on the market with an unbelievable asking price, even given the location.

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Did they ever find anyone to rent the space that Tower on E4th and Broadway, NYC was in? NYC Union Square is only a few block from there. Is anybody renting the old CBGBs? How about other venues in that part of town? My guess is no.

In the case of CBGB's, the answer is no, but there is a caveat. They originally had the space on the market for $30k/month (which got you all 500 or so sq ft of it), but apparently they have recently decided to sell the entire building. That being the case, I'm not sure that they are even trying to lease CBGB's anymore.

Wow, thanks for the low down. Someone with enough cash could buy the building and reopen CBGBs.

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My local Virgin closed down about two years ago. It was overpriced, but had a decent jazz selection and also had an interesting book section. HMV took over and jacked up the prices and got rid of the books.

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Is it possible that I would've visited a decently stocked Virgin in 2000-2001? Would have been in either NYC or Chicago.

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The Chicago store had a huge inventoy but I would not call it "decently stocked". It could have been better stocked with half the inventory.

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