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Virgin France music chain declared insolvent

In another sign of music stores struggling to cope with the growth of digital downloads, Virgin France is to declare itself insolvent, with reported debts of €22m (£18m), reports the BBC.

The music store chain, which has 25 outlets in France including a flagship store on the Champs-Elysées in Paris (above), is no longer connected with Richard Branson's Virgin empire, which sold it in 2001. It's currently owned by French investment firm Butler Capital.

Virgin France employs 1000 staff and is to hold a meeting with unions next Monday.

Like HMV in the UK, Virgin France has been hit hard by the move to movie and music downloads and a drop in sales of CDs, DVDs and Blu-rays. The rival Fnac chain tried to join the trend by launching its own music download service, but closed it last year after failing to grab sufficient market share.

Other high profile casualties of the downturn in disc sales in the UK include Virgin Megastores, Our Price, Tower Records, Zavvi, MVC, Border's and Woolworths.

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Andy Clough

Andy is Global Brand Director of What Hi-Fi? and has been a technology journalist for 30 years. During that time he has covered everything from VHS and Betamax, MiniDisc and DCC to CDi, Laserdisc and 3D TV, and any number of other formats that have come and gone. He loves nothing better than a good old format war. Andy edited several hi-fi and home cinema magazines before relaunching whathifi.com in 2008 and helping turn it into the global success it is today. When not listening to music or watching TV, he spends far too much of his time reading about cars he can't afford to buy.