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Virgin Megastores is an international entertainment retailing chain, originally founded by Sir Richard Branson as a record shop on London's Oxford Street in early 1976.
In 1979 the company opened their first Megastore at the end of Oxford Street and Tottenham Court Road.
According to the Lagardère 2007 report, 80% of the Virgin stores was to be sold by Lagardère Services at a value of €76.4 million, and 20% would be kept.
Prior to this sale 51% of Virgin Mega, France's number 2 music download website, was transferred to the Virgin Stores company (sold to Butler), and the remaining 49% was kept by Lagardère Active.
In December 2007 Butler Capital Partners announced their intention to mount a majority takeover of the French arm of Virgin from Lagardère. Related and Vornado happened to be the landlords for the two most profitable stores in the United States and those stores were profitable because they had long term leases in which rents were locked in at an extremely low rate.
Both real estate companies wanted to break the leases and replace Virgin with new tenants that were willing to pay the then current highly inflated rental rates that would make an entertainment retail business unprofitable.
Virgin shops have a wide selection of CDs, games, books, DVDs, vinyl records, magazines, portable media players, accessories and additional products such as calendars, board games and Virgin branded items.
Larger stores also stock electronic equipment and computer peripherals.
In 2003, all US Stores increased their focus on multiple fashion categories spanning Pop culture, Street, Urban, Movie & TV to complement the music, DVD and video games offers.
Like many of Branson's Virgin brands, Virgin Megastores is not wholly owned by the Virgin Group.
During the early to mid-2000s Virgin Group decided to sell off most of its Virgin Megastores to various companies, including the Lagardere Group.
By 2001 the Virgin Megastores worldwide were split between the Virgin Group and the Lagardère Group.
The Virgin Group kept the United Kingdom, Ireland, United States and Japan outlets while the Lagardère Group obtained the shops in France and travel retail locations globally including Australia, China, United Arab Emirates, Qatar, Greece, Italy, Egypt, Lebanon and Jordan.
The first release on the label was the progressive rock album Tubular Bells by multi-instrumentalist Mike Oldfield in 1973.