CHARLOTTE, N.C. - Four Media Play stores in the Charlotte region will close as part of the nationwide shuttering of the chain.
A spokeswoman for parent company Musicland Group Inc. said Monday the chain's 61 stores will close by late January, including local spots in Hickory, Gastonia, Matthews and on South Boulevard in Charlotte. Closeout sales on the company's DVDs, music and games began Sunday. Of the 2,000 employees in 18 states, roughly 120 are in the Charlotte region. Managers will receive severance packages.
Reasons behind the closings include competition from Wal-Mart and online sellers, digital downloading of music, and overall sales declines in the music and DVD sectors, said spokeswoman Laurie Bauer.
"The company has not been profitable for a number of years," she said. "There are so many factors against us."
Just a year ago, Charlotte-area Media Play stores held "grand re-openings" following remodeling that expanded selections and added XM Satellite Radio receivers and iPods to the inventories.
But it wasn't enough to save the big-box concept.
Sun Capital Partners Inc., a Florida private investment firm, bought Musicland from Best Buy Inc. in 2003 - two years after Best Buy paid nearly $700 million for the group. Sun Capital Partners paid no cash but assumed all of Musicland's liabilities.
With the shutdown of Media Play, Musicland is investing in a major redesign of its Sam Goody chain of mall-based media stores to improve its financial fortunes. Its other remaining chain is Suncoast Motion Picture Company stores, which sell DVDs.
Media Play may sell some of its leases to other retailers, Bauer said, but the plans are too preliminary to give specifics.
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