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Virgin Megastores
Type Private
Founded Oxford Street, London (1971)
Founder(s) Sir Richard Branson
Headquarters Various
Area served Worldwide
Industry Retail
Products Books
Consoles
DVDs
Games
Magazines
Music
T-Shirts
Parent Butler Capital Partners (France/International)
Sanity (Australia)
Website Virgin Megastores International portal
Virgin Megastores France
Virgin Megastores Greece

Virgin Megastores is an international chain of record shops, founded by Sir Richard Branson on London's Oxford Street in January or February 1971 (exact date uncertain). Virgin Megastores are best described today as entertainment retailers.

In 1979 the company opened their first Megastore at the end of Oxford Street and Tottenham Court Road.[1] The company expanded to hundreds of stores worldwide in the 1990s, but has lost a large number of stores in recent years, largely with the sale, and eventual closing, of the UK and US stores. Current operations are mainly in France, Australia and the Middle East, consisting of over 100 stores.

History

Branson's early business ventures

Richard Branson & Nik Powell had initially run a small record shop called Virgin Records and Tapes on Notting Hill Gate, London, specialising particularly in "krautrock" imports, and offering bean bags and free vegetarian food for the benefit of customers listening to the music on offer.[2] After making the shop into a success, they turned their business into a fully fledged record label, Virgin Records. The name Virgin, according to Branson (in his autobiography), arose from a colleague of his when they were brainstorming business ideas. She suggested Virgin - as they were all new to business - like "virgins". The first release on the label was the progressive rock album Tubular Bells by multi-instrumentalist Mike Oldfield in 1973.

Virgin Megastores

Virgin's first formal store opened on London's Oxford Street in January or February 1971 (exact date uncertain). In 1979 the company opened their first Megastore at the end of Oxford Street and Tottenham Court Road.[1] Virgin Megastores and Virgin Records operate as entirely separate entities, like many of the other Virgin companies. Throughout the 1980s and 1990s Virgin Megastores opened over 100 stores in the UK, and many others around the world. Simon Wright - Chief Executive of the Virgin Entertainment Group from 1999 to 2007 was very instrumental in the worldwide growth of the stores in particular developing the stores in Asia, the Middle East, Australia and North America before their eventual disposals under license detailed under Ownership.

Ownership

Like many of Branson's Virgin brands, Virgin Megastores is not wholly owned by the Virgin Group. During the early to mid 2000s Virgin Group decided to sell off most of its Virgin Megastores to various companies, including the Lagardere Group. By 2001 the Virgin Megastores worldwide were split between the Virgin Group and the Lagardère Group. The Virgin Group kept the UK, Ireland, USA and Japan outlets while the Lagardère Group obtained the shops in France and travel retail locations globally including Australia, China, United Arab Emirates, Qatar, Greece, Egypt and Lebanon.[3]

Virgin Megastores in the Middle East currently trades as V Star Multimedia LLC.[4] Culture Convenience Club owns what was Virgin Megastores Japan, which have since been rebranded as Tsutaya. The Australian stores are operated by Sanity; Sanity also run some of their stores under the HMV banner, and their own brand. In December 2007 Butler Capital Partners announced their intention to mount a majority takeover of the French arm of Virgin from Lagardère. This deal was finalised in February 2008.[5]

In 2007 the real estate company Related Companies and Vornado Realty Trust acquired Virgin Megastores North America.[6][7] They have since made the decision to close all of the American stores.

The UK and Irish underwent a management buy-out in September 2007 which resulted in the Managing Directors taking the company on as the largest independent entertainment retailer in the UK. Extensive rebranding to "Zavvi" took place in November 2007.[8] In late 2008 Zavvi entered administration, and then closed the majority of its stores, selling some to rival HMV, and a few to Head Entertainment, which then announced their closure in December 2009[9].

Territory Owner/Operator Currently operating under Virgin branding? Number of locations
UK and Ireland Zavvi No (sold in 2007) 125 (at time of sale - all now closed or in the process of closing)
France Butler Capital Partners (80%) / Lagardère Group (20%) Yes 35
Australia Sanity Yes 24
USA Virgin Entertainment Group (Related Companies / Vornado Realty Trust) Yes (until closing in 2009) 23 (at peak)
Japan Tsutaya Stores Holdings No (rebranded as Tsutaya in 2009) 22 (in 2005)
Middle East V Star Multimedia (Butler / Lagardère) Yes 18
Greece Vivere Entertainment Yes 15 in 2005, 6 currently open (2010)
Spain Virgin Entertainment Group Yes (at time of closing in 1998) 9
Germany HDS Retail Yes (Virgin Store not Megastore) 4
The Netherlands Free Record Shop group No 4
Canada Virgin Entertainment Group No (sold to HMV) 1

Store experience

Product range

Virgin Megastore Paris

Virgin shops have a wide selection of CDs, games, books, DVDs, vinyl records, MP3 players, magazines, accessories and additional products such as calendars, board games, and Virgin branded items. Note that not all of these products (e.g. vinyl) are stocked by all Virgin shops, though the larger stores do stock the full product range. All US Stores have increased their focus on fashion.[10] Other categories of fashion (Pop culture, Street, Urban, Movie & TV) complement the music, DVD and video games offers. Virgin Mobile products can also be found in separately run Virgin Mobile Concessions within most Virgin Megastores.[11][12] Some shops also house cafes/coffee shops run by external companies.[13]

Technology

In 2005, Virgin Digital was launched to cater for those that bought their music digitally or wanted to rip and burn their current music collection. This is designed to add to the services provided by Virgin, rather than replace the Megastores.[14] The download service has faced some criticism from consumer groups due to its incompatibility with the popular iPod music players. The service has since been discontinued.[15] Around the world there are other Virgin branded digital music retail websites, such as VirginMega.fr, France's number 2 music download website.

Operations

Legend:      Former Locations      Current Locations      Future Locations      No Data

Europe

France

The Façade of Virgin Megastore Paris

There are 35 Virgin Megastores in France. 12 additional stores in France are branded Furet du Nord, and about 10 international stores are owned by the same company.

Lagardère Group bought the chain in 2001. In December 2007 Butler Capital Partners announced their intention to mount a majority takeover of the French arm of Virgin from Lagardère. This deal was finalised in February 2008.[5] According to the Lagardère 2007 report, 80% of the Virgin stores was to be sold by Lagardère Services at a value of €76.4 million, and 20% would be kept. Prior to this sale 51% of VirginMega, France's number 2 music download website, was transferred to the Virgin Stores company (sold to Butler), and the remaining 49% was kept by Lagardère Active.[16]

In March 2008 the French Megastores enlisted Kyriba Corporation's real-time, on-demand cash and treasury management solution.[17]

Germany

Virgin Megastore withdrew from the German market in 1994, amid complaints that the country's shop-closing law was too restrictive.[18] However, Virgin returned to Germany with a new store (not a "Megastore") that opened in the Berlin Hauptbahnhof central station in Berlin in May 2006. There are now 4 Virgin Stores in Germany, operated by HDS Retail.

Greece

As of June 2005 there are 15 Virgin Megastores in Greece, and on the island of Crete, operated by Vivere Entertainment.[19] Currently only 6 remain open.[20]

The Netherlands

Virgin Megastores entered the Dutch market in the 1990s and operated four stores (Amsterdam, Rotterdam, The Hague and Maastricht). In 2000, it decided to exit the market. Three stores were sold to the Free Record Shop group, while the Maastricht branch was closed. Free Record Shop also acquired three Virgin Megastores in Belgium. [21][22]

Spain

In June 1998 the 9 Virgin Megastores closed including its southern European flagship store in Barcelona. Currently this building is occupied by Zara clothes store.

UK / Ireland

Zavvi, Northumberland Street, Newcastle upon Tyne. This store closed on 29 January 2009.

The first Virgin Megastore opened in the United Kingdom in 1979.

Between the 1980s and 1990s, the chain grew, most notably through its merger with Our Price whilst under the ownership of WH Smith. By the 1990s Virgin Megastores had become an international franchise as part of the Virgin Group.

In 2007 the Virgin Group was looking to sell the UK and Ireland stores. On 17 September 2007, it was announced that the UK and Ireland arm of the Virgin Megastores brand was to break away from the Virgin Group. A management buy-out offer was accepted.[23] EUK, the company's main stock supplier, also the supplier to shops like Woolworths and Sainsbury's, have helped out with the MBO by investing heavily to support the new management team. With the change of ownership the Virgin Megastores disappeared and were replaced with a new name 'Zavvi'. All 125 stores remained trading and the change was fully implemented by late November 2007. In January 2008 the online system was also rebranded to "zavvi.co.uk" and Virgin Megastores Ireland changed to 'Zavvi Ireland'.

The former Megastores UK logo

On Christmas Eve, 24 December 2008, the "Zavvi UK" group went into administration owing to the loss of its supplier, EUK.[24][25] Simon Douglas, the founder of the entertainment retailer stated, "We have done all that is possible to keep the business trading, but the problems encountered with EUK, and particularly its recent failure, have been too much for the business to cope with."[26] By February 2009 Zavvi had closed its stores, selling some to rival HMV, and a few to Simon Douglas and Les Whitfield's Head Entertainment.

In-stores

A service called Virgin Music Radio (VMR, later Virgin Radio used to broadcast from its home in the Oxford Street store to the rest of the Megastores. Later this service was stopped and shops played CDs from stock over their own in-shop stereo systems.

Employees of Virgin Megastores and Virgin XS/Xpress in the UK and in the Republic of Ireland (with exception Virgin XS/Xpress stores were not in Ireland) wore Virgin branded black T-Shirts with "Need Help? Just Ask" written on the front and "The V Team" on the back. Senior members of staff wore a MOD (Manager On Duty) lanyard. Only the Assistant Manager and Store Manager wore name badges, which also stated their position.

Virgin Megastore in Oxford Street - the chain's flagship shop.
Technology

The computer system at the heart of the UK Virgin Megastores was ELVIS (EPoS Linked Virgin Information System) which was designed for Virgin in 1991. ELVIS collects data from shop's point-of-sale terminals for stock and sales reporting; provides instant information for customers on all the shop's product lines, holds play list information for Virgin Megastore Radio (accessible by all shops simultaneously); and allows for electronic re-ordering from suppliers. As of September 2006 ELVIS was updated to utilise Real Time Polling. This means that now all inventory updates every 15 minutes, giving an accurate representation of on hand stockholding as well as being a useful tool for producing Best-Seller reports.

Virgin also had an online service, http://www.virginmegastores.co.uk,[27] which stocked the same entertainment products as the high street shops and had a 48-hour home delivery guarantee with gift wrapping. An individual service is used by stores to deliver items currently out of stock to customers. The system is called 'Web-Enabled Store' (WES).

Virgin XS
Virgin XS, Royal Quays. This (under Zavvi branding) store closed in January.

Virgin XS became the clearance arm of Virgin when they were taken over from Sound and Media. Who had set them up to sell off overstocks and deletions from all the major record companies. There were approximately 17 Virgin XS shops and they were all located in mainly small units within factory outlet centres throughout the UK. Virgin XS shops stocked the same charts as normal Virgin Megastores but they also sold all Virgin Megastores sleeveless stock (stock without their original packaging) at reduced prices as well as having various multibuy offers on back catalogue stock.

The chain was originally part of the Sound and Media Group (which itself was part of the Virgin Group). The Virgin XS stores were also sold to Zavvi in 2007.[28] These stores did not retain any distinction between them and the ordinary Zavvi stores, as they carried the standard Zavvi branding. All the Outlet stores were closed in January 2009 due to Zavvi entering administration.

Competition
Virgin Megastore in Piccadilly Circus

As more and more high street shops and e-tailers enter the entertainment sales market, it becomes more competitive. Big name supermarket chains in particular stock popular music and DVDs at ever-lower prices. The video game market is also increasingly competitive. These trends have affected Virgin Megastores profits. A report published in August 2005 stated that Virgin Megastores had lost £260m in the past two years according to accounts filed with Companies House, and remained solvent only with the help of significant loans from other Branson companies. The retail chain borrowed £287m from related companies in the Virgin group, a debt that grew by £117m in the financial year to March 2004. Chairman John Jackson, a long-standing Branson lieutenant, said that since then the retailer had borrowed more from the parent company. Virgin Megastores planned to break even in the 2006-2007 financial year. "A lot of hard work has been done to get the business into good shape," he said. Jackson said the first 18 weeks of 2006-7 had shown like-for-like sales similar to the year before, which was better than in the overall entertainment market.

The lenders in other Branson companies are charging the retail chain 14% interest. A Virgin Group source said the company charges the rates that a venture capital firm would expect as a return. The accounts stated that the music and video retailing business was still a "going concern" because the parent company had formally said that it would provide enough funding for it to trade for at least 12 months. According to the accounts filed in Companies House, the Virgin Megastores group made an operating loss of £112m in the 14 months to the end of March 2004 due to escalating costs at the retail chain and the cost of re-organisation. A contributing factor was the inclusion in the accounts of the loss-making smaller shops, which were closed. Jackson said this should also lead to a loss for the next financial year.

The year before, the operating loss had been £146m due to a writedown of the Our Price chain, which was bought from WH Smith in the late 1990s but struggled and was turned into V Shops in 2001. Turnover increased in the 14 months to the end of March, compared with the 12-month period previously, because the smaller shops were included.

"During the year, the group encountered a difficult trading environment with significant price competition being experienced, in particular from supermarkets, that affected sales and margins," the company said in a review of the business in its accounts.

It said this prompted a "strategic review", which led to a £31m charge to cover leases and other restructuring costs. Despite massive amounts of money being spent on refits over the last few years and more focus being spend on their bigger shops the company as a whole struggled to break even, no profit being made during the period 2002 - 2006. Sales of HMV Europe, Virgin's biggest competitor, grew to £986.0 million with operating profit of £96.8 million for the full year ended April 2005.[29]

In response to the increasing choices available to purchasers of entertainment media, the Virgin chain had employed several strategies in an attempt to secure customer loyalty, and focussed on higher standards of customer service. The 'Addict card' was introduced in 2005, offering customers a stamp for every £10 spent in the shop; 10 stamps entitled the customer to £10 off their next purchase.[30] Also introduced was the 'Mega-sharp' approach to customer service: staff were encouraged always to ensure that customers found everything they were seeking.

Competition against independent retailers mainly in the music sector did not pose a major threat for big companies such as the Megastores at the time of the Zavvi rebranding. However, customers with a specialist taste usually found the independent shops more appealing, offering more hard-to-find and rarer titles also the growing competition from online retailers.[31] In 2009 when Zavvi closed, some stores were sold to rival HMV, and some were transferred to Head Entertainment.

Arab World

The owners of Virgin Megastores in the Arab World is V-Star Multimedia. There are currently stores open in Syria, Bahrain, Egypt, Jordan, Kuwait, Qatar, and the UAE. Lebanon and Saudi Arabia are owned by Megastores of Lebanon S.A.L. There are plans to open more stores in Oman.[32][33]

Syria

In early 2009, Virgin Megastores announced its first stores will open in Syria. It will be located in Diaa Mall in Aleppo.

Saudi Arabia

As of November 2008, there is one Virgin Megastore in Saudi Arabia. It is located on Tahliah Street in the Roshana Centre in Jeddah.

Dear friends,you could get in touch with their Virgin Megastore head office telephone # 00966-2-2633886 for your information.

Bahrain

As of September 2008, there is currently one Virgin Megastore in Bahrain. It is in the Bahrain City Centre.

Egypt

As of June 2008, there are two Virgin Megastores in Egypt. One is located in the City Stars (Cairo) Shopping Mall[34] and the other is in Sharm el-Sheikh but closed now.

Kuwait

As of May 2008 there are two Virgin Megastores in Kuwait : one at Marina Mall in Salmiya, and one at the airport.

Lebanon

Virgin's main store in Lebanon is located in the old Opera house on Martyrs' Square, Beirut Central District; it opened on the 3rd of July 2001. The four level store's inauguration was attended by Virgin's founder Richard Branson.[35] There are also smaller stores at ABC Mall Achrafieh, CityMall Dora, and in the northern city of Tripoli, as well as in Beirut International Airport.[36]

Qatar

Virgin Megastores currently has two stores in Qatar, with one being located in the Villaggio Mall (Italian themed mall), Doha which is the shopping centre's main anchor. Recently in November 2008 they opened a smaller store in a shopping centre called Landmark. [32]

United Arab Emirates

The first Virgin Megastore in the Arab World opened in the United Arab Emirates.[37] As of December 2008, There are six Virgin Megastores in the UAE.[34] One is located in the Mercato Shopping Mall, a renaissance architecural style, a second in the BurJuman Shopping Mall, a third in The Mall of Emirates which is the biggest Virgin Megastore in the UAE, a forth is in Abu Dhabi Mall , a fifth one is in DCC and sixth one in JBR "The WALK" . As well as being a entertainment retailer, the company also acts as a venue, with artist signings, quiz nights and a newly launched boutique section offering everything from movie memorabilia to jewellery.[32]

Jordan

There is a Virgin Megastore in City Mall in Amman, which opened on 5 September 2007.[38]

North America

USA

Virgin Megastore in San Francisco.

The first Virgin Megastore in the United States opened in 1992 on Sunset Strip in Los Angeles, which was closed in 2008 and is currently being converted to other stores.[39] At its peak, there were 23 Megastores in the US which generated $280 million annually.[40] The US stores were purchased by Related Companies and Vornado Realty Trust in 2007.

Store closures

Under new ownership, from eleven US stores in 2007, many were gradually closed. On 2 March 2009, it was announced all Virgin Megastores in the USA would close[41]

The store at Arden Fair Mall in Sacramento, CA closed in 2007 and converted to an Urban Outfitters, while the Grapevine Mills location was closed at the end of 2008. Related Companies announced that the Virgin Megastore flagship in Times Square would close by April, 2009 of that year, with the space being replaced by Forever 21 and in the fall of 2010, a Disney Store replacing the since-closed World of Disney store on Fifth Avenue.[42] On 25 February 2009 it was announced that the stores in San Francisco and Union Square (New York) would close in April and May, [43] and the announcement of all stores closing followed soon thereafter. The Orlando store, located in Disney-operated shopping district, Downtown Disney, closed ahead-of-schedule on 12 May, 2009.

In-stores

Most shops included an in-store radio station, branded Virgin Radio. USA Virgin Radio was not a broadcast radio station, but a DJ operated hard-lines system which broadcasted throughout the store, and the complex in which the store was located. At the Times Square location, DJ selections were heard on the retail floor, in the office areas, processing areas, and even out on the shop's Broadway sidewalk frontage.

All employees of the USA Virgin Megastores could be identified by their trademark red t-shirts which had the Virgin logo on the front and the word STAFF on the back, as well as required lanyards with their first name printed on them.

Technology

The Virgin Megastore chain in the USA had a different GSA look-up system to other the international arms of the chain. This system was a private network that linked all North American shops, updating each shop's product inventory every 24 to 48 hours. The GSA was reportedly accessible from the internet.

Virgin Megastore (US) implemented a near real time data warehouse in 2004. The data warehouse named 'Crescendo' collects POS transactions, along with customer traffic counts and generates KPI reports in near real time. The near real time information helped the managers identify trends quicker and react. The USA shops shared their experience with the real-time warehouse and the UK stores also used similar process.

Virgin Megastore (US) had a Customer Loyalty Program named 'Virgin V.I.P.' The Program used a read/write 'GraphiCard'. Every time a member purchase is made, the Graphicard was swiped through the POS Graphicard Terminal. Members points were instantly updated on the face of the card.[44] The website shared the loyalty program with the US stores.

Website

Virgin Megastores USA's website is VirginMega.com. In 2002 this website became co-branded with Amazon.com, and was powered by Amazon.[45] Later in 2002 VirginMega.co.jp, the Japanese equivalent, followed suit. In 2007 the website was again changed, when Virgin Megastores partnered with Baker & Taylor.[46] On 31 May 2009 VirginMega.com ceased operating.

Canada

The first and only Virgin Megastore in Canada opened in December 1996 on the corner of Robson Street and Burrard Street in Vancouver, British Columbia. The 40,000 square foot, three-level store was located in downtown Vancouver, the city’s busiest and most prestigious retail destination. The building was previously home to the central branch of the Vancouver Public Library. The Virgin Megastore ceased its operations in Vancouver on 4 September 2005 when on 28 June 2005, HMV announced it was planning to expand the store and rebrand the location into the HMV brand. The acquisition took effect immediately and on 5 September 2005, HMV was opened.[47] However, due to the dominance of HMV in Canada, Virgin decided to exit the Canadian market entirely.[48]

There were also plans to build its second Canadian store at Toronto Life Square, in downtown Toronto. However, the exit from Canada cancelled these plans. An Adidas Performance store stands where Virgin would have.[49]

Oceania

Australia

Sanity currently operates Virgin Megastores in Australia, along with the Australian operations of HMV and their own Sanity branded stores. After a spate of closures, there are only 4 Virgin Megastores left in Australia. By the End of 2010 the Virgin Entertainment and Virgin megastores in Australia will close and The brand will disapear.

Asia

Japan

In 1990 Virgin Megastores Japan Limited was started as a 50/50 venture between Marui and the Virgin Entertainment Group. In September 1990 first Japanese Virgin Megastore opened in Shinjuku. During the 1990s more Megastores were opened all over Japan. On 19 September 2002, following its American counterpart, the VirginMega.co.jp website became powered by Amazon.co.jp.[50] This website has since disappeared.

In 2005 Culture Convenience Club bought Virgin Megastore's operations (totalling 22 stores) in Japan from Marui Co. By November 2008 the number of Virgin Megastores in Japan had lessened to 15. Culture Convenience Club's licensing contract with Virgin Group for the use of the Virgin Megastore brand had expired, and there was no desire to renew it. As of November 2008 Culture Convenience Club's subsidiary company, Tsutaya Stores Holdings Co., is expected to acquire Virgin Megastores Japan Co. Virgin Megastores Japan are to be rebranded as Tsutaya by early 2009.[51]

International travel locations (Virgin Books and Music)

In addition to the Megastores, the French company Lagardère Group operate Virgin branded stores in travel locations around the world, known as Virgin Books and Music. There are 35 locations in 8 countries, including the US there where there are currently two stores - at JFK International airport in New York and at Boston-Logan Airport.

See also

References

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  30. ^ "Virgin Megastores launch national loyalty card scheme". Borkowski. 2007-05-03. http://www.borkowski.co.uk/archives/press/003337.html. Retrieved 2008-04-11. 
  31. ^ "Branson sells Virgin Megastores". The Guardian. 2007-09-17. http://www.guardian.co.uk/business/2007/sep/17/citynews.musicnews. Retrieved 2008-04-11. 
  32. ^ a b c "Mega makeover in store for Virgin". Business 24-7. 2008-05-24. http://www.business24-7.ae/Articles/2008/5/Pages/05242008_845694b3de3e4624894842dbeb9d1610.aspx. Retrieved 2008-05-27. 
  33. ^ "Mega makeover in store for Virgin". VMegaNews. http://www.vmeganews.com/vip/vmeganews_locations.asp. Retrieved 2008-05-27. 
  34. ^ a b "Store Locations". VMegaNews. http://www.vmeganews.com/vip/vmeganews_locations.asp. Retrieved 2008-05-27. 
  35. ^ Solidere (2001-09). "Newcomers to the city center". The Quarterly. http://www.lebanon.com/construction/the.quarterly/2001/jul-sep/newcomers.htm. Retrieved 2009-10-18. 
  36. ^ "Virgin". What's Up Lebanon. http://www.whatsuplebanon.com/virgin.php. Retrieved 2008-07-27. 
  37. ^ "Company Profile". VMegaNews. http://www.vmeganews.com/vip/vmeganews_profile.asp. Retrieved 2008-05-27. 
  38. ^ "Virgin Megastore Amman opens September 5th, 2007". Moeys.net. 2007-09-04. http://www.moeys.net/2007/09/04/virgin-megastore-amman-opens-september-5th-2007/. Retrieved 2008-07-07. 
  39. ^ "Virgin Megastore on Sunset Strip to close". Video Business. 2007-12-27. http://www.videobusiness.com/article/CA6515452.html. Retrieved 2008-05-29. 
  40. ^ Christman, Ed. (2009-03-16), All U.S. Virgin Megastores To Close By June, billboard.com, http://www.billboard.com/bbcom/news/all-u-s-virgin-megastores-to-close-by-june-1003951620.story, retrieved 2009-03-16 
  41. ^ "Virgin Megastore At Downtown Disney To Close May 31". Netcot.com. http://www.netcot.com/thesite/2009/03/02/virgin-megastore-at-downtown-disney-to-close-may-31/. 
  42. ^ "Virgin Megastore in Times Square to Be Replaced by Forever 21". The New York Times. 2009-01-14. http://www.nytimes.com/2009/01/15/nyregion/15virgin.html?_r=1. Retrieved 2009-01-15. 
  43. ^ "Two Virgin Megastores to close". The Hollywood Reporter. 2009-02-26. http://www.hollywoodreporter.com/hr/content_display/music/news/e3i63240e57cc09e20b1667d78a9b456d45. Retrieved 2009-02-27. 
  44. ^ "Virgin Megastores Continue Commitment to Music Retail by Unveiling New Customer Loyalty Program". PRNewswire. 2006-10-11. http://www.accessmylibrary.com/coms2/summary_0286-20053131_ITM. Retrieved 2008-05-26. 
  45. ^ "Amazon brings Virgin Megastores into its web operations sphere". Internet Retailer. 2002-06-25. http://www.internetretailer.com/dailyNews.asp?id=7099&ya=track&ref=ya. Retrieved 2009-01-14. 
  46. ^ "Virgin opens shop online". Access My Library. 2008-11-19. http://www.accessmylibrary.com/coms2/summary_0286-33434074_ITM. Retrieved 2009-01-14. 
  47. ^ "HMV to open Canada’s largest dedicated music, DVD store". HMV Group. 2005-06-28. http://www.hmvgroup.com/media/view.jsp?id=1007. Retrieved 2008-04-28. 
  48. ^ "Virgin Closes Sole Canadian Store as HMV Expands". CIRPA. 2005-07-25. http://www.cirpa.ca/Page.asp?PageID=122&ContentID=818&SiteNodeID=66. Retrieved 2008-05-26. 
  49. ^ "After 12 years of delays and setbacks, Toronto Life Square prepares to open its doors". Daily Commercial News. 2008-03-11. http://www.dcnonl.com/article/id26768. Retrieved 2008-06-20. 
  50. ^ "Virginmega.co.jp Powered By Amazon.co.jp Launched On September 19". Internet Retailer. 2002-09-19. http://www.internetretailer.com/internet/marketing-conference/80586-virginmegacojp-powered-amazoncojp-launched-september-19.html. Retrieved 2009-01-14. 
  51. ^ "Virgin Megastores in Japan to become Tsutaya stores". Trading Markets. 2008-11-11. http://www.tradingmarkets.com/.site/news/Stock%20News/2030856/. Retrieved 2009-01-14. 

External links


Virgin Megastores
Type Private
Industry Retail
Founded Oxford Street, London (1971)
Founder(s) Sir Richard Branson
Headquarters Various
Area served Worldwide
Products Books
Consoles
DVDs
Games
Magazines
Music
T-Shirts
Parent Butler Capital Partners (France/International)
Sanity (Australia)
Website Virgin Megastores International portal
Virgin Megastores France
Virgin Megastores Greece

Virgin Megastores is an international chain of record shops, founded by Sir Richard Branson on London's Oxford Street in January or February 1971 (exact date uncertain). Virgin Megastores are best described today as entertainment retailers.

In 1979 the company opened their first Megastore at the end of Oxford Street and Tottenham Court Road.[1] The company expanded to hundreds of stores worldwide in the 1990s, but has lost a large number of stores in recent years, largely with the sale, and eventual closing, of the UK and US stores. Current operations are mainly in France, Australia and the Middle East, consisting of over 100 stores.

History

Branson's early business ventures

Richard Branson & Nik Powell had initially run a small record shop called Virgin Records and Tapes on Notting Hill Gate, London, specialising particularly in "krautrock" imports, and offering bean bags and free vegetarian food for the benefit of customers listening to the music on offer.[2] After making the shop into a success, they turned their business into a fully fledged record label, Virgin Records. The name Virgin, according to Branson (in his autobiography), arose from a colleague of his when they were brainstorming business ideas. She suggested Virgin - as they were all new to business - like "virgins". The first release on the label was the progressive rock album Tubular Bells by multi-instrumentalist Mike Oldfield in 1973.

Virgin Megastores

Virgin's first formal store opened on London's Oxford Street in January or February 1971 (exact date uncertain). In 1979 the company opened their first Megastore at the end of Oxford Street and Tottenham Court Road.[1] Virgin Megastores and Virgin Records operate as entirely separate entities, like many of the other Virgin companies. Throughout the 1980s and 1990s Virgin Megastores opened over 100 stores in the UK, and many others around the world. Simon Wright - Chief Executive of the Virgin Entertainment Group from 1999 to 2007 was very instrumental in the worldwide growth of the stores in particular developing the stores in Asia, the Middle East, Australia and North America before their eventual disposals under license detailed under Ownership.

Ownership

Like many of Branson's Virgin brands, Virgin Megastores is not wholly owned by the Virgin Group. During the early to mid 2000s Virgin Group decided to sell off most of its Virgin Megastores to various companies, including the Lagardere Group. By 2001 the Virgin Megastores worldwide were split between the Virgin Group and the Lagardère Group. The Virgin Group kept the UK, Ireland, USA and Japan outlets while the Lagardère Group obtained the shops in France and travel retail locations globally including Australia, China, United Arab Emirates, Qatar, Greece, Egypt and Lebanon.[3]

Virgin Megastores in the Middle East currently trades as V Star Multimedia LLC.[4] Culture Convenience Club owns what was Virgin Megastores Japan, which have since been rebranded as Tsutaya. The Australian stores are operated by Sanity; Sanity also run some of their stores under the HMV banner, and their own brand. In December 2007 Butler Capital Partners announced their intention to mount a majority takeover of the French arm of Virgin from Lagardère. This deal was finalised in February 2008.[5]

In 2007 the real estate company Related Companies and Vornado Realty Trust acquired Virgin Megastores North America.[6][7] They have since made the decision to close all of the American stores.

The UK and Irish underwent a management buy-out in September 2007 which resulted in the Managing Directors taking the company on as the largest independent entertainment retailer in the UK. Extensive rebranding to "Zavvi" took place in November 2007.[8] In late 2008 Zavvi entered administration, and then closed the majority of its stores, selling some to rival HMV, and a few to Head Entertainment, which then announced their closure in December 2009[9].

Territory Owner/Operator Currently operating under Virgin branding? Number of locations
UK and Ireland Zavvi No (sold in 2007) 125 (at time of sale - all now closed or in the process of closing)
France Butler Capital Partners (80%) / Lagardère Group (20%) Yes 35
Australia Sanity Yes (As of 7 August 2010, Virgin Megastore will not be renewing their contract within Myer. Therefore all Virgin Megastores within Myer, will cease to operate) 24
USA Virgin Entertainment Group (Related Companies / Vornado Realty Trust) Yes (until closing in 2009) 23 (at peak)
Japan Tsutaya Stores Holdings No (rebranded as Tsutaya in 2009) 22 (in 2005)
Middle East V Star Multimedia (Butler / Lagardère) Yes 18
Greece Vivere Entertainment Yes 15 in 2005, 6 currently open (2010)
Spain Virgin Entertainment Group Yes (at time of closing in 1998) 9
Germany HDS Retail Yes (Virgin Store not Megastore) 4
The Netherlands Free Record Shop group No 4
Canada Virgin Entertainment Group No (sold to HMV) 1

Store experience

Product range

Virgin shops have a wide selection of CDs, games, books, DVDs, vinyl records, MP3 players, magazines, accessories and additional products such as calendars, board games, and Virgin branded items. Note that not all of these products (e.g. vinyl) are stocked by all Virgin shops, though the larger stores do stock the full product range. All US Stores have increased their focus on fashion.[10] Other categories of fashion (Pop culture, Street, Urban, Movie & TV) complement the music, DVD and video games offers. Virgin Mobile products can also be found in separately run Virgin Mobile Concessions within most Virgin Megastores.[11][12] Some shops also house cafes/coffee shops run by external companies.[13]

Technology

In 2005, Virgin Digital was launched to cater for those that bought their music digitally or wanted to rip and burn their current music collection. This is designed to add to the services provided by Virgin, rather than replace the Megastores.[14] The download service has faced some criticism from consumer groups due to its incompatibility with the popular iPod music players. The service has since been discontinued.[15] Around the world there are other Virgin branded digital music retail websites, such as VirginMega.fr, France's number 2 music download website.

Operations

[[File:|thumb|left| Legend:      Former Locations      Current Locations      Future Locations      No Data]]

Europe

France

File:Virgin Megastore Paris - La Facade
The Façade of Virgin Megastore Paris

There are 35 Virgin Megastores in France. 12 additional stores in France are branded Furet du Nord, and about 10 international stores are owned by the same company.

Lagardère Group bought the chain in 2001. In December 2007 Butler Capital Partners announced their intention to mount a majority takeover of the French arm of Virgin from Lagardère. This deal was finalised in February 2008.[5] According to the Lagardère 2007 report, 80% of the Virgin stores was to be sold by Lagardère Services at a value of €76.4 million, and 20% would be kept. Prior to this sale 51% of VirginMega, France's number 2 music download website, was transferred to the Virgin Stores company (sold to Butler), and the remaining 49% was kept by Lagardère Active.[16]

In March 2008 the French Megastores enlisted Kyriba Corporation's real-time, on-demand cash and treasury management solution.[17]

Germany

Virgin Megastore withdrew from the German market in 1994, amid complaints that the country's shop-closing law was too restrictive.[18] However, Virgin returned to Germany with a new store (not a "Megastore") that opened in the Berlin Hauptbahnhof central station in Berlin in May 2006. There are now 4 Virgin Stores in Germany, operated by HDS Retail.

Greece

As of June 2005 there are 15 Virgin Megastores in Greece, and on the island of Crete, operated by Vivere Entertainment.[19] Currently only 6 remain open.[20]

The Netherlands

Virgin Megastores entered the Dutch market in the 1990s and operated four stores (Amsterdam, Rotterdam, The Hague and Maastricht). In 2000, it decided to exit the market. Three stores were sold to the Free Record Shop group, while the Maastricht branch was closed. Free Record Shop also acquired three Virgin Megastores in Belgium.[21][22]

Spain

In June 1998 the 9 Virgin Megastores closed including its southern European flagship store in Barcelona. Currently this building is occupied by Zara clothes store.

UK / Ireland

The first Virgin Megastore opened in the United Kingdom in 1979 and between the 1980s and 1990s, the chain grew, most notably through its merger with Our Price whilst under the ownership of WH Smith. By the 1990s Virgin Megastores had become an international franchise as part of the Virgin Group.

In 2007 the Virgin Group was looking to sell the UK and Ireland stores. On 17 September 2007, it was announced that the UK and Ireland arm of the Virgin Megastores brand was to break away from the Virgin Group. A management buy-out offer was accepted.[23] EUK, the company's main stock supplier, also the supplier to shops like Woolworths and Sainsbury's, have helped out with the MBO by investing heavily to support the new management team. With the change of ownership the Virgin Megastores disappeared and were replaced with a new name 'Zavvi'. All 125 stores remained trading and the change was fully implemented by late November 2007. In January 2008 the online system was also rebranded to "zavvi.co.uk" and Virgin Megastores Ireland changed to 'Zavvi Ireland'.[[File:|thumb|left|The former Megastores UK logo]]

On Christmas Eve, 24 December 2008, the "Zavvi UK" group went into administration owing to the loss of its supplier, EUK.[24][25] Simon Douglas, the founder of the entertainment retailer stated, "We have done all that is possible to keep the business trading, but the problems encountered with EUK, and particularly its recent failure, have been too much for the business to cope with."[26] By February 2009 Zavvi had closed its stores, selling some to rival HMV, and a few to Simon Douglas and Les Whitfield's Head Entertainment.

In-stores

A service called Virgin Music Radio (VMR, later Virgin Radio used to broadcast from its home in the Oxford Street store to the rest of the Megastores. Later this service was stopped and shops played CDs from stock over their own in-shop stereo systems.

Employees of Virgin Megastores and Virgin XS/Xpress in the UK and in the Republic of Ireland (with exception Virgin XS/Xpress stores were not in Ireland) wore Virgin branded black T-Shirts with "Need Help? Just Ask" written on the front and "The V Team" on the back. Senior members of staff wore a MOD (Manager On Duty) lanyard. Only the Assistant Manager and Store Manager wore name badges, which also stated their position.

File:Virgin Megastore - Oxford
Former Virgin Megastore in Oxford Street - the chain's flagship shop.
Technology

The computer system at the heart of the UK Virgin Megastores was ELVIS (EPoS Linked Virgin Information System) which was designed for Virgin in 1991. ELVIS collects data from shop's point-of-sale terminals for stock and sales reporting; provides instant information for customers on all the shop's product lines, holds play list information for Virgin Megastore Radio (accessible by all shops simultaneously); and allows for electronic re-ordering from suppliers. As of September 2006 ELVIS was updated to utilise Real Time Polling. This means that now all inventory updates every 15 minutes, giving an accurate representation of on hand stockholding as well as being a useful tool for producing Best-Seller reports.

Virgin also had an online service, http://www.virginmegastores.co.uk,[27] which stocked the same entertainment products as the high street shops and had a 48-hour home delivery guarantee with gift wrapping. An individual service is used by stores to deliver items currently out of stock to customers. The system is called 'Web-Enabled Store' (WES).

Virgin XS
File:Virgin XS Royal
Former Virgin XS Store

Virgin XS became the clearance arm of Virgin when they were taken over from Sound and Media. Who had set them up to sell off overstocks and deletions from all the major record companies. There were approximately 17 Virgin XS shops and they were all located in mainly small units within factory outlet centres throughout the UK. Virgin XS shops stocked the same charts as normal Virgin Megastores but they also sold all Virgin Megastores sleeveless stock (stock without their original packaging) at reduced prices as well as having various multibuy offers on back catalogue stock.

The chain was originally part of the Sound and Media Group (which itself was part of the Virgin Group). The Virgin XS stores were also sold to Zavvi in 2007.[28] These stores did not retain any distinction between them and the ordinary Zavvi stores, as they carried the standard Zavvi branding. All the Outlet stores were closed in January 2009 due to Zavvi entering administration.

Competition

As more and more high street shops and e-tailers enter the entertainment sales market, it becomes more competitive. Big name supermarket chains in particular stock popular music and DVDs at ever-lower prices. The video game market is also increasingly competitive. These trends have affected Virgin Megastores profits

In response to the increasing choices available to purchasers of entertainment media, the Virgin chain had employed several strategies in an attempt to secure customer loyalty, and focussed on higher standards of customer service. The 'Addict card' was introduced in 2005, offering customers a stamp for every £10 spent in the shop; 10 stamps entitled customers to £10 off their next purchase.[29] Also introduced was the 'Mega-sharp' approach to customer service: staff were encouraged always to ensure that customers found everything they were seeking.

Competition against independent retailers mainly in the music sector did not pose a major threat for big companies such as the Megastores at the time of the Zavvi rebranding. However, customers with a specialist taste usually found the independent shops more appealing, offering more hard-to-find and rarer titles also the growing competition from online retailers.[30] In 2009 when Zavvi closed, some stores were sold to rival HMV, and some were transferred to Head Entertainment.

Arab world

The owners of Virgin Megastores in the Arab World is V-Star Multimedia. There are currently stores open in Syria, Bahrain, Egypt, Jordan, Kuwait, Qatar, and the UAE. Lebanon and Saudi Arabia are owned by Megastores of Lebanon S.A.L. There are plans to open more stores in Oman. The owner from Morocco is Virgin itself.[31][32]

Syria

In early 2009, Virgin Megastores inaugurated its first store in Syria. It is located in AL Shahba Mall in Aleppo.

Saudi Arabia

As of September 2010, there are two Virgin Megastores in Saudi Arabia. They are located on Tahliah Street in the Roshana Centre and in the Red Sea Mall in Jeddah.

Bahrain

As of September 2008, there is currently one Virgin Megastore in Bahrain. It is in the Bahrain City Centre.

Egypt

As of June 2008, there are two Virgin Megastores in Egypt. One is located in the City Stars (Cairo) Shopping Mall[33] and the other is in Sharm el-Sheikh .

Kuwait

As of May 2008 there are two Virgin Megastores in Kuwait : one at Marina Mall in Salmiya, and one at the airport.

Lebanon

Virgin's main store in Lebanon is located in the old Opera house on Martyrs' Square, Beirut Central District; it opened on the 3rd of July 2001. The four level store's inauguration was attended by Virgin's founder Richard Branson.[34] There are also smaller stores at ABC Mall Achrafieh, CityMall Dora, as well as in Beirut International Airport.[35]

Qatar

Virgin Megastores currently has two stores in Qatar, with one being located in the Villaggio Mall (Italian themed mall), Doha which is the shopping centre's main anchor. Recently in November 2008 they opened a smaller store in a shopping centre called Landmark.[31]

United Arab Emirates

The first Virgin Megastore in the Arab World opened in the United Arab Emirates.[36] As of December 2008, There are six Virgin Megastores in the UAE.[33] One is located in the Mercato Shopping Mall, a renaissance architecural style, a second in the BurJuman Shopping Mall, a third in The Mall of Emirates which is the biggest Virgin Megastore in the UAE, a fourth is in Abu Dhabi Mall , a fifth one is in DCC and sixth one in JBR "The WALK". The new and 7th branch of Virgin Megastore has recently opened in MCC (Merdif City center).As well as being a entertainment retailer, the company also acts as a venue, with artist signings, quiz nights and a newly launched boutique section offering everything from movie memorabilia to jewellery.[31]

Jordan

There is a Virgin Megastore in City Mall in Amman, which opened on 5 September 2007.[37]

Morocco

There is a Virgin Mega store in Al mazar mall in Marrakech , which opened on April 2010.

North America

USA

The first Virgin Megastore in the United States opened in 1992 on Sunset Strip in Los Angeles, which was closed in 2008.[38] At its peak, there were 23 Megastores in the US which generated $280 million annually.[39] The US stores were purchased by Related Companies and Vornado Realty Trust in 2007.

Store closures

Under new ownership, from eleven US stores in 2007, many were gradually closed. On 2 March 2009, it was announced all Virgin Megastores in the USA would close.[40]

The store at Arden Fair Mall in Sacramento, CA closed in 2005 and converted to an Urban Outfitters, while the Grapevine Mills location was closed at the end of 2008. Related Companies announced that the Virgin Megastore flagship in Times Square would close by April, 2009 of that year, with the space being replaced by Forever 21.[41] On 25 February 2009 it was announced that the stores in San Francisco and Union Square (New York) would close in April and May,[42] and the announcement of all stores closing followed soon thereafter. The Orlando store, located in Disney-operated shopping district, Downtown Disney.

In-stores

Most shops included an in-store radio station, branded Virgin Radio. USA Virgin Radio was not a broadcast radio station, but a DJ operated hard-lines system which broadcasted throughout the store, and the complex in which the store was located. At the Times Square location, DJ selections were heard on the retail floor, in the office areas, processing areas, and even out on the shop's Broadway sidewalk frontage.

All employees of the USA Virgin Megastores could be identified by their trademark red or black t-shirts which had the Virgin logo on the front and the word STAFF on the back, as well as required lanyards with their first name printed on them.

Technology

The Virgin Megastore chain in the USA had a different GSA look-up system to other the international arms of the chain. This system was a private network that linked all North American shops, updating each shop's product inventory every 24 to 48 hours. The GSA was reportedly accessible from the internet.

Virgin Megastore (US) implemented a near real time data warehouse in 2004. The data warehouse named 'Crescendo' collects POS transactions, along with customer traffic counts and generates KPI reports in near real time. The near real time information helped the managers identify trends quicker and react. The USA shops shared their experience with the real-time warehouse and the UK stores also used similar process.

Virgin Megastore (US) had a Customer Loyalty Program named 'Virgin V.I.P.' The Program used a read/write 'GraphiCard'. Every time a member purchase is made, the Graphicard was swiped through the POS Graphicard Terminal. Members points were instantly updated on the face of the card.[43] The website shared the loyalty program with the US stores.

Website

Virgin Megastores USA's website is VirginMega.com. In 2002 this website became co-branded with Amazon.com, and was powered by Amazon.[44] Later in 2002 VirginMega.co.jp, the Japanese equivalent, followed suit. In 2007 the website was again changed, when Virgin Megastores partnered with Baker & Taylor.[45] On 31 May 2009 VirginMega.com ceased operating.

Canada

The first and only Virgin Megastore in Canada opened in December 1996 on the corner of Robson Street and Burrard Street in Vancouver, British Columbia. The 40,000-square-foot (3,700 m2), three-level store was located in downtown Vancouver, the city’s busiest and most prestigious retail destination. The building was previously home to the central branch of the Vancouver Public Library. The Virgin Megastore ceased its operations in Vancouver on 4 September 2005 when on 28 June 2005, HMV announced it was planning to expand the store and rebrand the location into the HMV brand. The acquisition took effect immediately and on 5 September 2005, HMV was opened.[46] However, due to the dominance of HMV in Canada, Virgin decided to exit the Canadian market entirely.[47]

There were also plans to build its second Canadian store at Toronto Life Square, in downtown Toronto. However, the exit from Canada cancelled these plans. An Adidas Performance store stands where Virgin would have.[48]

Oceania

Australia

Sanity currently operates Virgin Megastores in Australia, along with the Australian operations of HMV and their own Sanity branded stores.

Asia

Japan

In 1990 Virgin Megastores Japan Limited was started as a 50/50 venture between Marui and the Virgin Entertainment Group. In September 1990 first Japanese Virgin Megastore opened in Shinjuku. During the 1990s more Megastores were opened all over Japan. On 19 September 2002, following its American counterpart, the VirginMega.co.jp website became powered by Amazon.co.jp.[49] This website has since disappeared.

In 2005 Culture Convenience Club bought Virgin Megastore's operations (totalling 22 stores) in Japan from Marui Co. By November 2008 the number of Virgin Megastores in Japan had lessened to 15. Culture Convenience Club's licensing contract with Virgin Group for the use of the Virgin Megastore brand had expired, and there was no desire to renew it. As of November 2008 Culture Convenience Club's subsidiary company, Tsutaya Stores Holdings Co., is expected to acquire Virgin Megastores Japan Co. Virgin Megastores Japan are to be rebranded as Tsutaya by early 2009.[50]

International travel locations (Virgin Books and Music)

In addition to the Megastores, the French company Lagardère Group operate Virgin branded stores in travel locations around the world, known as Virgin Books and Music. There are 35 locations in 8 countries, including the US there where there are currently two stores - at JFK International airport in New York and at Boston-Logan Airport.

See also

References

  1. ^ a b "Who's Richard Branson". Virgin Group. http://www.virgin.com/AboutVirgin/RichardBranson/WhosRichardBranson.aspx. Retrieved 2008-04-11. 
  2. ^ Lott, Tim (March 26, 2004). "The day my music died". London: The Guardian. http://books.guardian.co.uk/departments/generalfiction/story/0,6000,1177956,00.html. Retrieved 2007-09-17. 
  3. ^ "Lagardère Media acquires Virgin Stores in France". Lagardère Group. 2001-07-26. http://www.lagardere.com/press-room/press-releases/press-releases-363.html&idpress=2130. Retrieved 2008-04-11. 
  4. ^ "Privacy Policy". VMegaNews. http://www.vmeganews.com/vip/vmeganews_privacy_policy.asp. Retrieved 2008-05-27. 
  5. ^ a b "Lagardère SCA: Takeover of Virgin Group: final agreement". Reuters. 2008-02-28. http://www.reuters.com/article/pressRelease/idUS211220+28-Feb-2008+BW20080228. Retrieved 2009-01-14. 
  6. ^ "Related Companies to Acquire Virgin Entertainment Group Virgin Megastores North America". PR Newswire. 2007-08-17. http://www.prnewswire.com/cgi-bin/stories.pl?ACCT=104&STORY=/www/story/08-17-2007/0004647544&EDATE=. Retrieved 2008-03-28. 
  7. ^ "Related Companies to Acquire Virgin Entertainment Group Virgin Megastores North America". Related. 2007-08-17. http://www.related.com/index.asp?model=pressDetails&view=1&companyid=7&storyid=393. Retrieved 2008-04-11. [dead link]
  8. ^ "Branson sells Virgin music stores". BBC News. 2007-09-17. http://news.bbc.co.uk/1/hi/business/6998606.stm. Retrieved 2008-03-28. 
  9. ^ "Head Entertainment starts closing down sale". Retail Week. 2009-09-12. http://www.retail-week.com/retail-sectors/entertainment/son-of-zavvi-head-entertainment-starts-closing-down-sales/5008690.article. Retrieved 2009-02-18. 
  10. ^ "Virgin Entertainment Group Launches Ben Sherman Boutiques Inside Select Virgin Megastores". Access My Library. 2003-02-12. http://www.accessmylibrary.com/coms2/summary_0286-22343796_ITM. Retrieved 2008-05-26. 
  11. ^ "Virgin Mobile to set up outlets in Megastores". Access My Library. 2003-08-04. http://www.accessmylibrary.com/coms2/summary_0286-24020457_ITM. Retrieved 2008-05-26. 
  12. ^ "Virgin Mobile USA is Virgin Megastores' One and Only". Access My Library. 2002-06-20. http://www.accessmylibrary.com/coms2/summary_0286-25533017_ITM. Retrieved 2008-05-26. 
  13. ^ "SSP wins contract for French Virgin Megastores". CatererSearch. 2001-07-26. http://www.caterersearch.com/Articles/2001/07/26/16795/ssp-wins-contract-for-french-virgin-megastores.html. Retrieved 2008-05-26. 
  14. ^ "Virgin Digital sets US, UK debut dates". Register. 2004-06-23. http://www.theregister.co.uk/2004/06/23/virigin_digital_dates/. Retrieved 2008-05-26. 
  15. ^ "Q&A: Virgin's digital shutdown". BBC News. 2007-09-28. http://news.bbc.co.uk/1/hi/business/7012012.stm. Retrieved 2008-05-26. 
  16. ^ "Lagardère Reference Document 2007 (Annual Report 2007)". Lagardère. 2007. http://www.lagardere.com/fichiers/fckeditor/File/Relations_investisseurs/Publications/2008/doc_ref_2007_en.pdf. Retrieved 2009-01-22. 
  17. ^ "Qualcomm, Superior Energy, Virgin Megastore, Arianespace and Boiron Labs select Kyriba for their Treasury Management Solution". Bob's Guide. 2008-03-11. http://www.bobsguide.com/guide/news/2008/Mar/11/Qualcomm,_Superior_Energy,_Virgin_Megastore,_Arianespace_and_Boiron_Labs_select_Kyriba_for_their_Treasury_Management_Solution.html. Retrieved 2008-03-29. 
  18. ^ "Virgin Learns You Can't Always Get What You Want". International Herald Tribune. 1995-09-11. http://www.iht.com/articles/1995/09/11/virgin.php. Retrieved 2008-05-26. 
  19. ^ "Virgin Megastores Hellas Launches Greek Digital Music Service Powered by Loudeye". PR Newswire. 2005-06-14. http://www.prnewswire.com/cgi-bin/stories.pl?ACCT=109&STORY=/www/story/06-14-2005/0003869721&EDATE. Retrieved 2009-01-17. 
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