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Virgin stores still deserted – new venture doomed?

Back in January 1971, Richard Branson opened his first Virgin Records store at 24 Oxford Street, the ‘cheap end’ as Dickie put it. Until March 1992, when he sold out to Thorn EMI for $1 Billion, his business was a huge success. Virgin’s attempts to sell phones on the high street doesn’t seem to be working out quite so well. KitGuru analyses more pics.

On 20th December, the last Thursday before Xmas, shopping malls across the UK were jam packed with folks hungry to buy that last minute gift. In the UK, Thursday is the customary late night opening day – so we Brits are programmed to spend in the early evening from an early age.

Wandering past a brand new Virgin store, we pulled right back to get the widest shot possible – but there were no customers to be snapped.

Sunday 29th December saw us hitting the same shopping centre and, for a laugh,  we parked up so that we got to walk past the Virgin store twice. With the visits around 1 hour apart, you’d expect them not to look like they were taken 30 seconds apart.

See what you think.

Having seen Game and HMV enjoy some spectacular problems - and Orange merging with T-Mobile to help curb costs - can Virgin make this new venture work? Shots were taken around 1 hour apart.

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We know what you’re thinking. Is the store is in a bad position?  Nope. It’s right next to packed McDonald’s, opposite Waitrose and on one of the main thorough-fairs to the multi-story car park.

At this time of year, you would have thought that Virgin could immaculately create customers, but apparently not so.

Now you’re wondering if we cheated and the entire complex was empty – devoid of shoppers. Check these shots of the Apple and Carphone Warehouse shots taken between the two Virgin ones.

Not exactly jammed - but every other phone store has a steady stream of customers. Virgin is barren.

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KitGuru says: We have no feeling one way or the other for Virgin. Sure, there are TONS of complaints into KitGuru every year about Virgin’s broadband service, but nothing really about Virgin as a mobile provider.  From what we’re seeing in the high street, Virgin might have a place in our interconnected technological futures – but we can’t see it happening in shops.

Comment below or in the KitGuru forums.

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