Three years ago Virgin megastores began disappearing in America, and last year continuing slides in CD and DVD sales saw the first closures in France. Four more are now going: three in the Ile-de-France (Charenton-le-Pont, Torcy and Claye-Souilly) and one in Strasbourg. Six other Virgin stores (Lyon, Bordeaux, Nice,Belle Epine, Montpellier and on the Champs-Elysées) are under threat.
But in contrast, the fnac chain - which sells a good range of books and a general range of other products such as electronic hardware and is a physical competitor to Amazon - is doing OK. Like Barnes and Noble in the USA, the astuteness of management is all important to these chains' fortunes. See our earlier posts on Borders, Whitcoulls and Paper Plus for analysis.