The Great Union Square Virgin Megastore Clearance Sale: Well, It’s Not All That Great

May 7th, 2009 // 6 Comments

Last night I popped into the Union Square Virgin Megastore, one of the last remnants of the once-mighty chain; it’s currently in the process of its final clearance sale, although truth be told, there were few real deals to be had. (CDs, records, and DVDs were marked down 20%; I scored a vinyl copy of Ida Maria’s “Fortress ‘Round My Heart” for $10.) The DJ hired with providing ambiance to the store sounded slightly dejected as he noted that everything around him would be closed by month’s end, and while the place was fairly full of bargain-hunters, there was a sense that the air was being slowly and torturously let out of a big room where people cared enough about music to venture out in public for the purposes of sampling it. More observations–including a gallery!–after the jump.

Unlike previous excursions to imminently closing record stores, there wasn’t really any one record that was in large supply–well, unless you count the Eagles box sets that were scattered around the store.

I do wonder just how much the albums and DVDs are going to be marked down–according to one employee at an indie label, every piece of stock on Virgin’s shelves is “fully returnable,” so perhaps the liquidators figure they can make more money by not selling their inventory out?

In the meantime, let’s all remember the old days, with this breathless description of the now-faded shop from the company’s official site:

You haven’t visited New York City until you’ve taken part in the downtown Union Square experience. The thriving Union Square area is a dense congregation of trendy shops, restaurants, lounges, cool bars and a unique community of people who live, work and play there. In true Virgin fashion, at the center of it all is the Virgin Megastore Union Square. Once you set foot inside its doors, you’ll feel the pulse and vibe of this highly original store as its resident DJs spin the latest in all kinds of new music. Want more selection? Preview releases on any one of our 500 listening stations, or view the latest DVD releases and have a latte in our Virgin Cafe overlooking Union Square Park. Why not spend the whole day, or night, whatever you like?

Having the imminently closing Virgin Megastore right next to a cleared-out Circuit City certainly calls that “dense congregation” idea into question. On the bright side, I did get confronted by about 10 people on my way from the subway to the store, so at least things aren’t as deserted down there as they once were.

Virgin Megastore Union Square []


  1. What sucks is that I keep wanting to go to the Times Square Virgin Megastore to look for CDs, but then have to keep reminding myself that it’s NOT THERE anymore.

    It’s becoming increasingly hard to buy media in this city; I think the nearest place to buy CDs might be Record Mart down in the subway station.

  2. Meh, I live in Greenwhich Village (not far from Union Square) and prices for everything are still THROUGH THE ROOF

  3. I love how the Eagles box is called (I forgot this till just now) Selected Works, as if it’s gathering choice bits from William Faulkner or some-such. Can “Witchy Woman” be considered a “work”?

    Black Kids vinyl FTW — there’s your overbought clearance stock right there.

    I assume “confronted” as in offered mixtape CDs and concert flyers? I wonder whether that traffic has stepped up, either because of the recession or mix/flyer-pushers’ perception that there’d be more traffic during the clearance…?

  4. The Virgin store on Michigan Avenue in Chicago has been closed for some time. I used to think it was a corporate nightmare (it is), but i did find some good deals in the cheap bins, and there was enough sales on back catalog of CD’s that no one cares to buy anymore (except me), and therefore I got some excellent deals.

    Since I buy 90% of my CD’s used anyway, I don’t really care if Virgin exists or not.

  5. I’m beginning to think Maura has a room in her pad that is filled with nothing but Ida Maria cds and vinyl, as well as clipped photos of the group as wall paper.

    Not that it’s a bad thing, really.

  6. I live in NYC and often see movies at the theatre just behind this Virgin location. I’ve stopped in every weekend for the past 3, and I have to agree with some of the above….there are no great bargains yet. Pretty much whatever they have “marked down” is always off original list.

    So DVDs marked down from list 20%, electronics 10%. When Times Square closed they had a few great promotions in the end…namely 40% off DVDs and 30% of blu-ray. also, they had a week where if you bought 5 items you got an additional 15% off your total purchase. So far nothing great here….all the DVDs I want I can find much, much cheaper at Best Buy or Barnes & Noble.

    So far, fairly disappointing!

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