In the opening year of the Seventies, when most people thought of jumbos as elephants and Pendolino sounded like a character in the Merchant of Venice, a former public schoolboy had the bright idea of starting a mail-order record business. His big idea was to undercut high street record shops by selling imports and even bootlegs to an eager market keen to save money and to explore new music — it was the kind of radical, some might say irreverent, disruptive, thinking that would serve Branson in the future in myriad ways. What about Virgin? And so it was that Richard Branson, the public schoolboy turned entrepreneur, founded a brand that has become a global business, dealing in everything from finance to mobile phones, health and fitness to holidays, trains, balloons, an airline or two and of course a record label, but all that was to come…. Three years after starting the mail-order business it had grown big enough to have shops in ten cities across the UK — from Brighton to Bristol and Glasgow to Liverpool and Leeds.
Virgin Megastores UK
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Sir Richard Branson yesterday severed his last remaining link with the high street, offloading his Virgin Megastore chain at a time when record shops are under unprecedented pressure from the internet and supermarkets. The sale of stores throughout the UK and Ireland to a management buyout group for an undisclosed sum marks a final retreat from the music industry after more than 35 years. After setting the company up as a mail order business in , Sir Richard opened the first Megastore in Oxford Street, London, the following year and founded the Virgin record label in , selling millions of vinyl copies of Mike Oldfield's Tubular Bells. The Virgin brand - which has been attached over the years to everything from trains to credit cards and wedding dresses to vodka with varying degrees of success - will disappear from store fronts from November to be replaced with the name Zavvi. The new owners, led by the Virgin Megastore managing director Simon Douglas and finance director Steve Peckham, promised to safeguard all 2, jobs and overhaul the stores to compete more effectively in the iPod age.
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Virgin Megastores was a retail chain that operated in the United Kingdom from to The company was established by Richard Branson , originally as a small record shop, and became a national chain. In , the company was sold to management, and was rebranded as Zavvi. Zavvi entered administration in and subsequently closed.