10.1.13

Soon closing...



The cultural offer – CDs, books, magazines, DVDs, different accessories…  have during the last decades moved from small shops to some leading chains, e.g. FNAC … and Virgin Megastores.

Virgin Megastore has a dominant place on the Champs-Elysées. Since 1988 it occupies the major part of the building which was created in 1931 for the First National Bank. (The architect was André Arfvidson, who was responsible for a number of remarkable buildings in Paris; you can read about one of them in one of my previous posts.) The building was recently bought by the Quatar.

Virgin Megastore will most probably disappear from the more and  more expensive Champs-Elysées and perhaps altogether in France, with its remaining 25 shops and 1000 employees. Created by Sir Richard Branson, but since long sold by him, the hundreds of stores worldwide have already to a large extent disappeared, e.g. in UK, US, Italy, Spain, Canada, Australia…. The takeovers have in majority lead to closures. Some hundred Virgin Megastores remain  (for how long?) in France, Germany, the Middle East...

The French ownership was first in 2001 in majority taken over by the Lagardère group, in 2007 sold to an investment company, Butler Capital Partners*, heavily criticized by employees and syndicates for having neglected the needed transformation, adaptation, to a changing market. The liquidation of the French branch was declared this week. 

*/ Walter Butler is a French-American businessman, who has had advisory roles for the French government and also has a past as director at Goldman Sachs.  



Also FNAC is in difficulties. Yes, the market is changing. Soon, we will have the choice to buy – with a very restricted choice - at supermarkets or on internet. Who will take over the Champs-Elysées building? Zara, H&M, Apple, Hermès …?

In the meantime and before closure, here are some photos of the Virgin Megastore on the Champs-Elysées.



Especially when you visit the book shop, downstairs the past of the bank building is very visible.


20 comments:

Eli said...

I will miss Virgin - spent many a happy hour buying cds and dvds and wandering through the books

French Girl in Seattle said...

I will miss Virgin too. I have always preferred that store to any of the Fnac outlets where the sales staff could be snooty. I remember spending many late nights chez Virgin, checking out books and cd's after catching a movie on the Champs-Elysées. The end of an era. I don't know who will take over. This is prime real estate. I am betting on JCrew. I hear they are planning to open several stores in Paris over the next 18 months... Veronique (French Girl in Seattle)

Shionge said...

Hmmm...it means I would be able to see this store when I visit huh?

Nadege said...

Very sad indeed! .

Thérèse said...

I do remember when I entered this Huge store for the first time, probably in 88... we came out with more than a few French cd's to bring back to the States... Hard to imagine the rental price... Quatar bought the building last summer.

Anne said...

A la place du magasin Virgin des Champs Elysées, une boutique Tiffany s'installe

claude said...

Philippe et moi sommes allés y faire un tour une année avec les garçons. C'est dommage ces fermetures, moi perso, je préfère aller dans ce genre de magasin que d'acheter sur internet. Virgin avait-il au moins un site d'achat en ligne, ce n'est pas sûr. Il faut avoir une pensée pour tous ces gens qui vont se retrouver au chômage, c'est pas comme cela que la courbe va infléchir.
Concernant ton post précédent, j'ai connu Paris tout en gris, puis le ravalement des immeubles et monuments historique fut le bien venu. Les restaurations aussi.

Audrey said...

les virgins etaient vraiment de bons magasins c est vraiment dommage qu ils disparaissent sans parle de tout ces gens au chomage...

Audrey said...

les virgins etaient vraiment de bons magasins c est vraiment dommage qu ils disparaissent sans parle de tout ces gens au chomage...

Synne said...

Wow, I love the vault! I've got to visit this store before it closes down!

Vagabonde said...

So sad – I spent many hours listening to French CDs at the Champs Elysees store (as it’s hard to hear French music in the States.) I think the Internet did not help them and also the changing market. I hear that CD sales have gone down 70% and books too. This happened here too, Tower Records went down and many little bookstores. I was in the Virgin Megastore in Nice last October and there were hardly any customers there, too. I’m sorry to see them go.

hpy said...

C'est la fin d'une époque - heureusement on a encore quelques endroits qui vendent des livres (et des CD, je crois), même par ici. J'aurais du mal à acheter un livre par Internet (mais va sans doute falloir que je m'y mette), car j'aime bien le feuilleter avant.

Starman said...

The stairs down to the store look familiar, but I don't remember it being a Virgin Megastore (though it might very well have been).

Lorraine S. said...

I couldn't believe when the Virgin Megastore closed on Times Square NYC. The beginning of the end of CDs, which I have many of and still buy!

Studio at the Farm said...

I hope they do something innovative with it, after the megastore closes. It is such a beautiful old building.

Cezar and Léia said...

I had already bought several t-shorts at Virgin shop as well.
I love your pictures, mainly the neon and the impressive bank building and engines!
Léia

ALAIN said...

La librairie dans une chambre forte...c'est tout un symbole.

lasiate said...

Les marchands se sont crus les maitres des esprits eh bien ils redescendent sur terre

Catherine said...

Happy New Year Peter...familiar story here - so many household business names are disappearing in UK too - latest to go Jessops the camera store...sad sign of the times...

Jeanie said...

another big music store gone. That is happening here, too. Downloading, online ordering, high price of retail -- it's taking its toll. This looks like a fascinating and lovely store. So sad.