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Virgin Megastore bankrupt

The latest victim of the shift towards online music and movie sales.

A quarter of a century after British tycoon Richard Branson opened the world’s biggest record store on the Champs-Elysees, Virgin Megastore in France is set to file for bankruptcy.

The company, which operates 26 stores across France, confirmed Tuesday it planned to file for bankruptcy after becoming the latest victim of the shift towards online music and movie sales.

On Wednesday, several hundred employees picketed outside the flagship Paris store in protest over the threat of job losses.

Virgin Megastore has been losing money for the past four years after failing to react early enough to the onslaught of online distributors, such as Amazon and iTunes.

Culture Minister Aurelie Filippetti on Wednesday accused Amazon of “unfair competition” and said the government would help to try find a buyer for the stores.

Branson is no longer involved with the company.

In 2001, Virgin sold the French outlets to Lagardere publishing company, which later sold them to Butler Capital Partners, a French investment fund.

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