Would you like music with that? Change at Marbecks

Marbecks Dunedin manager David James (right), book manager Bruce Caddy (left) and cafe manager...
Marbecks Dunedin manager David James (right), book manager Bruce Caddy (left) and cafe manager Linda Huggins have no plans to close the store, despite the imminent loss of Marbecks on Auckland's Queen St after nearly 80 years. Photo by Craig Baxter.

Changes are planned - but not a closure - as Dunedin's Marbecks store seeks to avoid the fate set to befall one of New Zealand's music institutions.

Marbecks on Auckland's Queen St will close in March after 78 years, because of dwindling sales and rising online competition.

Marbecks managing director Roger Harper said the configuration of the Dunedin store would change this year, as a result of declining CD and DVD sales.

However, he said there were no plans to close the store in the Wall Street mall.

The Queen St store, which sold only music, had proven to be ''obsolete'' when faced with competition from online sales, but Dunedin's store opened three years ago with those new commercial realities in mind, he said.

Dunedin's shop mixed music with books and a cafe, which was proving successful, he said.

Changes this year would shift the shop's focus more towards the cafe operation and away from music and books, although the sale of both would remain part of the business, he said.

Dunedin's shop was likely to receive much of the leftover stock from the Queen St store, he said.

''Obviously times are changing for the retail product that's in Wall Street, and we have got to change with those times.

''Where closures are happening is where there's no economic model for the existing retail model,'' he said.

Ironically, the largest growth area for Marbecks was the sale of vinyl records, although for good reason, Mr Harper believed.

''It sounds better. There's a reason for it to live.''

- chris.morris@odt.co.nz

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