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Track Records closing down
IT'S the end of the track.
Track Records, the independent York shop on which three generations of youth have converged for their top-of-the-charts hits, is to close its doors in Goodramgate - defeated by the internet downloading revolution.
"People simply are not passing through the doors," said owner Keith Howe, who in January closed his Doncaster branch with the loss of five jobs after sustaining a year's losses.
Now he will make another six redundant, including himself.
He plans to call in the liquidators within six weeks to formulate the exact extent of debt, but reckons he owes about £100,000.
His house in Boroughbridge Road, put up as collateral on a loan, is already on the market.
Mr Howe said he hoped insolvency would mean the personal guarantees to suppliers would be honoured.
Only last May, ten truckloads of stock and office equipment were transferred to the Goodramgate shop from High Ousegate, where it was based for 15 years.
It is a particular tragedy for 47-year-old Mr Howe, who said: "This business has been my whole life."
He first sold jukebox seconds on York's Newgate Market in his schooldays, before opening his shop, aged 19, in a dry cleaner's premises, in Fossgate, in April 1979.
Track Records then moved to the Coppergate Centre, in 1985, and High Ousegate, in May 1992.
The boom for Track Records and other record shop retailers reached its peak in 1996, but now, said Mr Howe, the industry was on its knees as websites and supermarkets undercut dedicated record retailers.
He said: "Anyone downloading a top album from play.com does not have to pay VAT, because it is based in the Channel Islands.
"Customers can get it, postage paid, for about £8.97, whereas it costs me about £9, that is £7.68 plus VAT, before I can think about making a profit - and that amounts to pennies.
"Most kids are downloading. Our student population in York is expanding, but I see very little evidence of it. There seems to have been a massive exodus of younger people aged from 12 to 24."
Mr Howe claimed, he was not alone, with many of the high street stores suffering, including HMV which had announced 100 redundancies after profit warnings.
The likes of Amazon, play.com and Tesco supermarket were taking their toll, he said. "It's the new reality of the market place," he said.