Tower Records, the first major music store in Singapore, has ended nearly 13 years of business here with the closure of its outlet at Suntec City.
The chain, which was launched in California in 1960 and pioneered the music mega store concept, came to Singapore in 1993 with the launch of Tower Records' flagship store at Pacific Plaza. It later expanded to three outlets.
However, TODAY learned on Wednesday that the Suntec outlet had given each of its employees the equivalent of one month's salary on Tuesday and told them it was ceasing operations. Said one of the employees, Mr Masni Mohamed Alias: "We were informed that the store would be closing because the music retail business is not good. We'd expected it because sales haven't been good for awhile."
Mr Richie Hayashi of Icicle Music, a distributor of CDs to Tower Records, confirmed the store's closure. "We have dealt with Tower Records and now they are closed," he said. "But, contrary to rumours that they closed because they can't pay their suppliers, we have had no such problems."
The chain, which had more than 170 outlets worldwide at its peak in the 1980s, saw business decline in recent years in the face of competition from online retailers and discounters such as Wal-Mart.
Two years ago, the company filed for bankruptcy in the United States. It had earlier sold its operations in Singapore to Malaysia's Motion Planet Worldwide in 2003. Calls to Motion Planet Worldwide for comment on the closure went unanswered.
Industry insiders were not surprised at Tower's departure from Singapore. Said Mr Lim Teck Kheng, marketing director of record company Universal Music: "Tower is a brand name but unfortunately (the new management) didn't capitalise on that."
Consumers, who had more choices when HMV and Borders joined Towers Records in the Singapore market in 1997, were nonetheless saddened by the closure. Said music fan Azhari Yusof, 33, a logistics officer: "It was a great place to hang out. In the days before the online shops and the Internet, that was where we got to hear the freshest music and read the latest magazines. Tower Records was definitely a memorable place to any music fan." - TODAY/fa
used to go there often.. the day the music died..
no sound no picture jus close down like that
din even lehlong the CDs