Swansea store ready to rock retro style as vinyl returns
CHANGE the record? It might just be possible again after a Swansea store was chosen to take part in a national trial to see if music lovers in a digital age still have affection for vinyl.
While younger listeners will only ever have known downloading, streaming or compact discs as a means of listening to tunes, many music purists have never stopped buying vinyl records — regardless of their po- tential to scratch and damage.
London, Manchester and a few other big city HMV stores have stocked vinyl records since the 1990s. But a resurgence of interest has persuaded the company to earmark 12 stores throughout the UK to start selling them again as well.
And one of those is their store in the city's Quadrant shopping centre, which has been refitted to accommodate seven-inch vinyl and LP records — as well as retro-style record players.
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Swansea store manager John Hatfield, 41, a vinyl connoisseur with a private collection of more than 2,000 records, said: "The company is focusing on different locations to see if the success of the bigger stores in Manchester and London can be rolled out.
"We do get people asking for vinyl and there has been a massive resurgence of interest over the past ten years, a lot of it encouraged by the indie culture. "Buying vinyl has become cool with the kids and purists like me. We're responding to what people want.
"I am old enough to remember it from first time around, when I started out in 1990 everything we sold was vinyl. We sold thousands of units then to DJs who used vinyl. I was in charge of selling all that so I'm really chuffed to bits that it's coming back.
"And we will be stocking the higher-quality 180-gram vinyl and the resonance from these records is fantastic.
"For me there is no sound like hearing the needle hitting the record and then waiting for the sound to kick in."
Initially Swansea will carry a stock of 1,500 vinyl albums.
HMV head of PR Gennaro Castaldo added: "We are initially embarking on a 12 store trial. If the trial proves the success we hope and expect it to be we will extend it to up to 30 stores and thereafter we'll consider rolling it out to many of our stores in our 240-strong chain."