Music Zone injects £10m to double store numbers

Music Zone plans to almost double its store numbers in the next two years as it flies in the face of the threat from digital downloading.

The music retailer plans to hit the 100-store mark by the end of 2006, three years sooner than originally planned, as part of its£10 million expansion investment.

Music Zone founder and chairman Russ Grainger believes the retailer can combat the threat of digital downloads, which he dismisses as being 'over hyped' by the media.

He said: 'It's perfectly feasible that we will hit the 100 mark in that time. I feel confident about the state of the market, despite all the nonsense I keep seeing written about downloading all the time. We are bullish at the moment and do not agree with the doomsayers about music retail.

'HMV is doing really well. Following the demise of Our Price and Sanity, there is a void on the high street. We are the natural player to fill it,' he said.

Grainger said he believes buying music is an 'emotional experience', and that consumers will use downloads to sample music before they go into a store to buy the product.

Music Zone has 53 stores in the UK and plans another five by the end of this year. Over the next couple of years the chain wants to increase its presence in Scotland, the Midlands and the South.

The retailer's sales were 24 per cent up for the first quarter of this year.