Brighton's oldest record shop to close

Posted On 10 Jul 2012 at 1:27 am

Rounder Records in Brighton is to close after 46 years.

Owner Phil Barton blamed a combination of factors from downloading to tax-dodging rivals for the demise of the store in Brighton Square in The Lanes.

The shop, which claims to be Brighton’s oldest independent record shop, opened in 1966. It plans to close on Sunday 29 July.

Former staff include Norman Cook, aka Fatboy Slim, and Skint Records founder Damian Harris, aka Midfield General.

The owner Phil Barton said: “The shop and the staff have always striven to be the best.

“We are not able to deliver the best any more and with the deepest regret I have to close the doors at the end of July.

“Rounder has been part of my life and my loyal staff’s lives for so long that having to close is a very bitter pill to swallow.

“We tried everything to stay open but the basic economics were killing us.”

A message on the shop’s website said: “It is with huge regret and sadness that we have to announce that we are closing down.

“We will shut our doors at 6pm on Sunday 29 July after 46 years of being a record shop in Brighton Square.

“What we have always strived to do is to stock the best range of music at the best prices for our customers – sadly that is not enough for us to stay open.

“We are closing because we can’t make it add up any more.

“We are a business that has been decimated by downloads (both legal and illegal), VAT avoidance by the big online retailers, a double dip recession and the decline of the high street.

“Our lease has ended and we have nowhere to go.

“We would like to give heartfelt thanks to all our customers over the years and hope that we have managed to provide you with some special and great music throughout this time.”

The mention of VAT avoidance was a reference to a tax loophole that was closed by the government in April.

For nearly ten years Amazon, Tesco, and other companies took advantage of the loophole by selling CDs and DVDs from Jersey and Guernsey in the Channel Islands.

This meant that they could avoid VAT and it enabled them to undercut mainland shops.

They are believed to have saved themselves – and cost the Treasury – more than £100 million a year in tax by using this tactic.

Competition from the supermarket chains has added to the pressure on traditional record shops.

HMV closed its branch in Western Road, Brighton, 18 months ago and in the preceding two years Zavvi – formerly Virgin – in Churchill Square, Brighton, closed, as did Woolworths and Borders which also sold music.


  1. Robin Hislop Reply

    It was sad that Rounder closed, it was also great for gig tickets. But surely The Record Album in Terminus St is Brighton’s oldest record shop? It opened in 1948…

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