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Croydon record store going strong despite HMV going into administration

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LIVING in a top shopping centre, Croydon's music lovers once had the run of the record shops with Virgin Megastore, Our Price, HMV – and, of course, the world-famous Beanos – at their disposal.

But it was with a degree of inevitability that the chain which began in Oxford Street in 1921 as His Master's Voice this week announced it had gone into administration.

And despite dewy-eyed nods to "ends of eras" and cliched references to videos killing radio stars, the record store is far from dead in Croydon.

"The retail market is obviously tough right now but we are still going strong and have been doing so since 1986," Duncan Barnes, who owns 101 Records in North End, said.

"We have a big internet presence, which I think is the secret.

"It has helped a lot, whereas HMV didn't use the internet for a long time, and by the time they did it was far too late. We also have a strong and loyal fan base and thankfully we're still going.

"However, I don't believe all these people that are saying how sad they are that HMV is going into administration.

"These people should use their record stores if they don't want this to happen. It's a case of use it or lose it."

Croydon institution Beanos closed in 2009 after 34 years trading and former owner David Lashmar said he was not surprised by HMV's demise, which could result in the loss of many jobs from the local branch in Centrale.

He said: "I am amazed it lasted so long and didn't close sooner. Frankly, people can't be bothered to go into town, go into the store and queue for an item that they could get cheaper from Amazon.

"The people working there can't help you. They don't know enough about what they're working with, so it's easier to order the product online.

"This isn't just about downloading music. Many people like myself still like to have the CD, the physical thing, because then you have it and you know it's yours.

"But why would you go to a shop to get it when you can just order online? No wonder Richard Branson closed Virgin when he did; he knew what was coming.

"Not only that but HMV looked more like a DVD shop than music. There wasn't great customer service. It's just sad that yet another shop has left the high street."

Another store relying almost solely on the internet is dance-music specialist DNR Vinyl, in Lower Addiscombe Road.

Manager Dan Nuthall told the Advertiser: "Ten years ago there were at least ten specialist record shops like us in Croydon but now there are only a couple or so left.

"Luckily, our rent isn't too high because we're out of the main town but without the internet part of the business, we just wouldn't have one. Thankfully, as we are specialised, our customers keep coming back."

HMV once had two stores in Croydon, before one in North End closed in February 2011.

The future of its current store in Centrale is unclear, following this week's announcement.

Croydon record store going strong despite HMV going into administration


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