J&R closes lower Manhattan store after 43 years

Iconic electronics superstore J&R Music and Computer World is closing after 43 years, but will reopen in 2015 as a remodeled digital destination and concept store.

"On April 10th, J&R will close its doors so that we can rebuild this location into what we hope will be an unprecedented retailing concept and social media mecca," said owners Joe and Rachelle Friedman in a statement.

The company is rebranding the store after years of plummeting music sales, as consumers overwhelmingly turn to digital downloads. Physical album sales have been in steady decline since 2010, when digital sales and downloads first began to overtake their analogue counterparts, according to data from Nielsen SoundScan.

"A lot has changed in these 43 years, including not only the way we listen to music and the technology products we sell, but the way people shop and socialize," the Friedmans said in a statement. While the store is being renovated, customers will still be able to place orders online.

J&R, which has been across from City Hall since 1971, released a sketch of the planned renovated block, labeled as "2015."

The move to digital media has caused the downfall of several electronics stores in recent years including Circuit City and CompUSA. In February, American TV & Appliance became the latest to close all of its stores after 60 years in business.

For the tech retailers that have stayed afloat, it's been an uphill battle. RadioShack (NYSE: RSH), for instance, reported its seventh consecutive quarterly loss as sales for the consumer-electronics chain continue to struggle. Best Buy (NYSE: BBY), which has also had its fair share of hardships, finally swung to a profit in the most recent quarter, but said it would be slashing 2,000 jobs to save even more money.

For more:
-See this J&R statement

Related stories:
American TV & Appliance closing all stores
Can 3D printing save RadioShack?
Can RadioShack re-invent itself, again?
RadioShack reports $112 million loss, confirms new financing
Best Buy reports dismal holiday sales, shares tank

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