We’ve reported on this before, but one of the few remaining Virgin Megastores is to close soon, since designer clothes are more profitable than CDs, DVDs and graphic novels:
Last June, a Vornado executive told Reuters that the store would shut down in the first quarter of 2009. The decision to close the store appears related to real estate and the value connected to the location. That executive was quoted as saying that Virgin pays only $54 per square-foot when the market rent in the area is about $700 a square foot.
So, while the store, which does an estimated $55 million in annual volume, is profitable to the tune of $6 million, according to sources, the space would be even more profitable for its owner with a higher rent tenant. Vornado bought the 180,000 square foot retail component of the Bertelsmann building, which houses the Times Square store, in 2006, and will lease the space to Century 21, according to reports.
With Times Square closing, there are only five Virgin stores in the US, and the Union SQuare outlet is the last big music store in Manhattan. The Virgin Megastores were early adopters of graphic novels, and one of the first bookstores to rack them in quantities alongside other books. While the number of comics sold at these five remaining stores may be negligible, symbolically, it’s yet another sad day at retail.
No wonder Marvel is putting its money back into the direct market.
And a word to the wise: you may find fewer people than you think are still willing to pay $60 for a tank top and $400 for a blouse.
Actually, as reported in the NY Times, the space is going over to Forever 21, a cheap, trendy clothing store. Blechhhhhhhh.