The age of super-sized record shops in Manhattan is fading out: The Virgin Megastore in Times Square is closing and will be replaced by a popular clothing chain.
The massive store on Broadway near 46th Street is expected to close in April. The store's 200 or so employees were told this week about its demise. That leaves only one other Virgin store on the island in Union Square.
"Management has been telling us that we were going to close for years," one worker told the New York Post. "We've all been on edge."
The music store is located across the street from MTV studios where "Total Request Live" used to be broadcast. The store used to be part of Sir Richard Branson's business empire before he sold it to Related Companies and Vornado Reality in 2007.
Virgin Entertainment Group Chief Executive Simon Wright tells the New York Times in Thursday editions that the store remained “very, very profitable,” in spite of the growing popularity of downloaded music over the Internet.
But the two companies that own the chain decided that they could make more money if they leased the space to clothing retailer Forever 21.
Stores that sell CDs and DVDs have faced increased pressure by the popularity of digitized music that can be downloaded onto iPods and MP3 players from the Internet.