Monday, September 17, 2007

Virgin for sale?

Following on from the collapse of MVC, MusicZone, Fopp and Tower and the struggling of HMV as it tries to adjust to being a juice bar rather than a record shop, the Telegraph is reporting Richard Branson is thinking of offloading the UK Virgin Megastore chain.

Apparently, the chain's management are hoping to organise a buyout of the "roughly breaking even" chain. Presumably you can enjoy the downward spiral more if you've paid for your ticket.


7 comments:

Anonymous said...

going...going...gone

http://news.bbc.co.uk/1/hi/business/6998606.stm

James said...

"The deal, whose value has not been disclosed, will see Virgin's 125 UK and Irish Megastores rebranded as Zavvi."

Eh? Are businesses now picking their names based on which internet domains are still available?

And, not wanting to sound like the last Tory poster campaign or anything, but is it really that hard to run a record shop? Surely if they just stopped people who were leaving Virgin empty-handed on a Saturday afternoon and asked them why they hadn't bought anything, that might give them some ideas?

Something tells me "I couldn't buy a smoothie whilst updating my Facebook and ordering a copy of 'Revolver' to be delivered to my house" wouldn't be among the top answers.

Anonymous said...

It's not that hard to run a record shop. The problem with chains such as Virgin is that they try to be all things to all men, musical supermarkets if you will.

If they simply focused more, they could slim down and remain profitable and fully operational.

I've worked for HMV and Virgin, and the primary concern made clear by the management is money money money, which often leaves staff feeling as if they may aswell be working in Asda trying to promote this week's baked beans deal.

Music shops need to get back to simply being music shops, selling a passion for music, with staff passionate about music, with the Managers passionate about keeping everyone else passionate...focusing all your energies on grabbing the next penny doesn't work...obviously. work...obviously.

James said...

Completely agree. One of the advantages which record shops* have over the likes of CD-Wow is the finding stuff you didn't know you wanted. 'People who bought this also bought' is all well and good, but a picture of a sleeve isn't as convincing as someone behind the counter who can genuinely recommend a good album to go with what you're buying, with an obvious passion for the music. That's where they're going wrong now; I can't see myself wandering into Virgin for the new Go! Team album and, on the recommendation of the sales assistant, impulse-buying an 18-month mobile contract.

Or a bastard 'iPod sock'.

*Yes, I realise that using the term 'Record Shops' makes me sound like Mel Smith in the NTNOCN 'Hifi Shop/Do you want a paper bag on your head?' sketch. Sorry.

Lulu said...

Meanwhile, Rough Trade opens a new branch in Brick Lane, and vinyl is the new black. Is anybody learning anything yet?

jona said...

On my first visit to the new Rough Trade, after spending quite some time trying to decipher the 'genres' used (like Fopp's used to be, but worse - everything can only be either American or European, or post-rock, it seemed) but unable to find what I wanted, I asked at the counter, and after looking on the computer I was told it was in stock, but nobody knew where, and I'd probably be better off going home and ordering it from the website.

James said...

The genres used to completely fox me in Rough Trade. I'd wander in for a look around but find myself completely overawed by the rack down the left of the shop, where every album seemed to have its own divider for 'Proto-Gabba-Krautrock' or 'Nu-Folk Skatecore'.

The random box of stuff under the stairs was cool though.

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