January 15, 2009

Times Square Virgin Megastore closing

New York's largest record shop, the 12-year-old Virgin Megastore in Times Square, is set to close in April due to rising rents, the BBC reported.

The fate of the store, one of six operating under the Virgin name in the United States, had been unclear since Virgin head Richard Branson sold his North American entertainment arm in August 2007.

Billboard.com said the current owners of the Times Square branch -- Related and Vornado -- want to close the store's doors and lease the space it occupies to another tenant for more money.

New York's Union Square Virgin store will remain open for the foreseeable future, the BBC said.

Due to the increasing popularity of digital downloads, most record chains reportedly have experienced steep drops in sales.

HMV pulled out of the U.S. market in 2004 and Tower Records went into liquidation in 2006, leaving Virgin the only major music retailer in New York, the BBC noted.