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Fear for record stores after popular Southend shop closes
5:00pm Saturday 11th May 2013 in News
RECORD shop owners fear they're becoming part of a dying breed after a famous south Essex shop shut after 40 years.
Golden Discs in Queens Road, Southend, was a favourite of music lovers and was even featured in Morrissey’s 1988 video for the song, Everyday is like Sunday.
But its closure and recreation as a new cafe has prompted concerns the future of independent record stores.
Those that are surviving are sturggling to compete with bigger chains, even though the likes of HMV have also been having a rough time.
Stuart Hill, manager at Anything That’s Rock and Roll on Southchurch Road, said shops like his had to offer something different to the customer and to make the purchasing of music as a more personal experience.
He said: “It’s sad to see another independent record store go. I’ve lived here all my life and used to go there. It’s been a family business for many years but sometimes that’s the way business goes.
“The whole retail market is very difficult at the moment, especially when you’re a specialist shop like that and this one.”
He added: “The main thing is that it’s personal. We have a coffee and chat about music. It’s a nice experience for people to come into the store and it’s a good atmosphere.
“I’ve nothing against the people at HMV, but they just work there. They don’t know the collections.”
Buying music has changed massively in the last few years with the likes of iTunes offering the chance for people to download their favourite songs at the touch of a button and without having to leave their homes.
Even the once mighty HMV has suffered as a result, entering administration last year and having to shut 60 shops.
However, one store is still going strong. Fives on Leigh Broadway was opened in 1977 by Peter Driscoll and has now become a big family business with his daughters and grandchildren now helping to run the shop.
Another big boost has been the introduction of record store day in 2007 which has helped raise the profile of vinyl and that of independent stores.
One of Peter’s daughters Sandra Billets said: “This year’s record store day [April 20] was our busiest ever day since we opened 36 years ago! We had people queuing outside the door by 7am.”
Mrs Billets said she was surprised at the closing of Golden Discs, but said the biggest problem facing independent stores was supermarkets severely undercutting the rest of the high street.
She added: “The supermarkets cause the problem by just dropping their prices. Independent stores can’t do much about that. They sell their CDs and DVDs below cost price. It’s a constant battle.”
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