[T]he real estate firms that own the U.S. chain determined they could command higher rent from new tenants.So they're going to close down something they already own, in a bad economy, and they expect to get even more money from someone else? Let's see how that works out...
I haven't been to a Virgin Megastore in a while (the most recent time was at the Times Square location during IAJE two years ago), but there was a time when I used to go to Grapevine Mills every month on alumni-meeting days (that was my walk-around-and kill-time spot before I was lured away by Southlake Town Square). The Grapevine store was cool in that it took up a center portion of the oval-shaped mall and was thus accessible from both sides. While the regular prices were quite high (on a par with Tower Records, which itself closed a few years ago), they had plenty of things on sale at any given time, and their listening stations, while not quite up to the level of the "sample anything in the store" system at Barnes and Noble, had plenty from which to choose. For a while, their jazz selection was really good, and I spent more than a little bit of time and money there. But as I said in the story about Tower's demise, it became far more common for me to discover something at Virgin and then either buy it used somewhere else or at Amazon (or iTunes in recent years), and I'm sure I'm not the only one whose habits changed in that manner.
I've said before that, no matter how many downloads I buy (and there's bound to be a lot in the future; my "save for later" list on eMusic is at around 170 titles!), there's still something nice about the tangible, physical CD (especially in terms of liner notes, which are crucial to jazz listeners), and likewise, there's still something nice about having a store to browse around in that holds all those tangible CDs. But Virgin will obviously not be that store, at least after this summer.
(I was going to close this post by saying that a trip to Grapevine Mills would be in the offing soon. But Wikipedia tells me that the Grapevine store already closed, a few months ago. D'oh.)