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Virgin Founder Sir Richard Branson Leads Rebirth of Music Retail in San Francisco - Jack's Journal

Nov. 30th, 2003 11:52 am Virgin Founder Sir Richard Branson Leads Rebirth of Music Retail in San Francisco

Branson Spreads the Gospel About His Plans to Breathe New Life Into Music Retail at San Francisco Virgin Megastore

Virgin Entertainment Group, North America, the world's premiere music and entertainment retailer, is pleased to announce the arrival of Sir Richard Branson who will unveil the most progressive music entertainment store, at the Virgin Megastore, San Francisco. There will be a celebration on December 3, from 4-8pm; and Sir Richard Branson, CEO of Virgin companies, will be on hand to introduce and discuss the enhanced offer that will be available to Virgin Megastore customers.

While many other music retailers have closed their doors and are battling to stay alive, Virgin has shown its complete commitment to the future of music and entertainment retailing by investing in the development of a new cutting edge retail concept. After conducting significant customer research in the Bay area, the San Francisco Virgin Megastore, originally opened in 1995, has recently completed a total rebirth. Virgin has tailored a unique experience by combining a fresh mixture of cutting edge products with innovative consumer-facing technologies in a truly stimulating environment.

"We are renowned at Virgin Megastores for providing the best selection of music and entertainment products. However, this time we've really raised the bar and have elevated our offer to include an expanded range of products and services that appeal to our core customers' lifestyles," Sir Richard Branson, Founder and CEO, Virgin Entertainment Group Inc., said. "We are confident that this is the direction we need to go for Virgin Megastores in the future."

"While we believe we must have a fantastic multi-channel offering to compete in today's environment, this demonstrates our commitment to our core business, which is our stores," states Glen Ward, CEO, Virgin Entertainment Group, North America. "We have asked our customers what they want, and by enhancing our stores and making them a more exciting place to shop we've given them what they asked for and more."

The revitalized Megastores will offer a significantly expanded product range to appeal to the lifestyles of the music and DVD buyer. Already known for its selection of CDs and DVDs, Virgin will be offering the best of today's electronics, fashion, accessories, sex merchandise and even associations with car and motorcycle brands.

Long known for its selection of imported music, Virgin has expanded upon this and now offers imported pop culture fashion, foods, DVDs and gadgets. Band merchandise, vintage music t-shirts, collectable concert prints, and artist-endorsed fashion brands have also been introduced to appeal to the fan and collector. The DVD selection has been expanded to represent the broadest array of movies on the West Coast, and is now joined by a handpicked selection of movie merchandise. Virgin's well regarded World Music, Jazz and Classical selection are now complimented by Mind, Spirit and Body products, and a zone dedicated to gay lifestyle has been introduced. For the fashion consumer, an expanded selection of music related fashion brands is featured throughout the store, along with fitting rooms on all three floors. Cutting edge consumer electronics including Virgin Pulse, Samsung and Philips products are located at key positions throughout the store. Virgin has also introduced a service for customers to recycle used music, games and DVDs in return for store credit. And there's even an adult section that will include adult DVDs and games.

The Megastore will also feature the largest concert stage in a North American retail environment. This will serve as a live music platform as well as a location to showcase lifestyle products of interest to Virgin's customers such as new technologies, motorbikes, cars and musical equipment.

As another enhancement to the overall shopping experience, Virgin has invested in new technology, which will bring more interaction into the in-store environment. At the heart of the Virgin Megastore experience is the opportunity to listen before you buy. After pioneering the industry-leading Virgin MegaPlay kiosks, which enable the customer to access over 2 million music clips, for the first time at any North American music retailer, customers can also plug flash media cards directly into the MegaPlay kiosks and download 30 of Virgin's favorite songs, free of charge.

Virgin will also unveil the industry's first portable hand held listening device. By partnering with MusiKube, Virgin has provided customers with the ability to listen to whatever they want, wherever they want within the store.

Bay area residents can now be the first in the nation to own the latest titles, as they will be able to purchase Tuesday releases in the early morning hours from Virgin's CD and DVD vending station which will face San Francisco's Market Street, and will allow customers to purchase the latest releases 24 hours a day.

Reporters are invited to "The Virgin Megastore Revival Meeting" on Wednesday, December 3rd starting at 4PM, which includes a VIP tour of the revitalized Virgin Megastore, San Francisco (2 Stockton Street) and a special service led by Sir Richard Branson. Reporters can discuss the new business plans, as one-on-one press interviews with Sir Richard Branson and Glen Ward can be made by appointment.

ABOUT VIRGIN ENTERTAINMENT GROUP

Virgin Entertainment Group is the world's leading multi-channel music and entertainment retailer, providing customers with a range of superior entertainment experiences through a family of integrated Virgin-branded businesses. The "category killer" Virgin Megastores and Virgin Megastore Online at www.virginmega.com are integral parts of a strategy to provide entertainment customers with what they want, how they want it, and when they want it. For more information, or to check out the location of the nearest Virgin retail, go to www.virginmegamagazine.com

Resources

In-Depth Tech Interview with MusiKube Officials (April 2003)
http://www.pocketpcflash.net/articles/musikube-01.htm

MusiKube
http://www.musikube.com/

BTW: I'll be attending the Virgin SF press event on December 3. Photos with audio interview clips will be posted from the Samsung A620 camera phone here in real time.

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