Virgin Megastores, the high street music retailer, will be rebranded as Zavvi following its sale to a management buy-out team led by managing director Simon Douglas and finance director Steve Peckham. The chain was sold for an undisclosed amount.
The new owners, Zavvi Entertainment Group, will rebrand the 125 stores over the next month. The sale of the chain ends Virgin Group chairman Richard Branson’s association with the business that helped to launch his empire.
The deal is not expected to lead to any redundancies across the chain’s 2,500 staff. Douglas says: “This deal secures an exciting future for Zavvi and all of our staff, with a real belief that, despite escalating competition, there is still very much a place on an increasingly homogenised high street for an independent entertainment specialist.”
The chain will continue to house Virgin Mobile and Virgin Media concessions in-stores despite the rebrand.
Branson launched Virgin as a mail order record retailer before launching a store on Oxford Street the following year. The sale of the chain is the latest in a number of changes across the music retailer sector, which has suffered from falling sales and increased competition. Tower Records, Music Zone. MVC and Fopp are among the retailers that have already closed down.