'Britney' Bursts From Gate, But Stores Look For More
Britney Spears' "Britney" (Jive), released Tuesday in the U.S., is posting impressive numbers and is expected to debut at No. 1 on next week's Billboard 200, but retailers aren't exactly celebrating,Britney Spears' "Britney" (Jive), released Tuesday in the U.S., is posting impressive numbers and is expected to debut at No. 1 on next week's Billboard 200, but retailers aren't exactly celebrating, Billboard Bulletin reports. Spears' set is expected to sell more than 600,000 units-far from a lukewarm success but considerably less than the million-plus the teen queen mustered in first-week sales of last year's "Oops! ... I Did It Again."
"It's selling worse than Britney usually does, but far from bad," says Mike Camacho, GM of Chicago's Tower Records store on Clark Street. "It did excellent Monday night and Tuesday, but then it tailed off ... It will be well below the usual numbers for those types of artists."
The Pink Floyd best-of "Echoes" (Capitol), also out this week, appears to be off to a slow start, but many expect it to have staying power. Says Ross Hewson, head buyer at Record & Tape Traders in Owings Mills, Md., "This week was definitely a bit of a let-down with all of the stuff that came out. Considering the hype with Floyd, I thought we'd do well with it, but ... I think we'll get our sales back in the coming weeks."
Robert Taylor, buyer for Amarillo, Texas-based Hastings Books, Music & Video, is particularly bullish on "Echoes," comparing it to last year's mega-seller, the Beatles' "1." "The Beatles set didn't really crush [the competition] in its first week, but then as the weeks went on, sales really picked up," he says. " 'Echoes' won't sell the 500,000 a week the Beatles did, but it will do well."
The decline in first-week sales for Spears was anticipated, but that doesn't ease retailers fears for the upcoming holiday season. "We're not anticipating a great Christmas," says Camacho.
Citing a lack of promising breakout hits, many retailers are pinning their hopes on "Echoes" and upcoming hits sets from the likes of Barenaked Ladies ("Disc One: All Their Greatest Hits," Reprise), Green Day ("International Superhits," Reprise), and the Cure ("Greatest Hits," Elektra), all due on Nov. 13.
Retailers don't expect this year's high-profile Christmas sets, such as Barbra Streisand's "Christmas Memories" (Columbia) and Destiny's Child's "8 Days of Christmas" (Columbia), to spike consumer interest. "People are not in a holiday mood," says Camacho. "Streisand and Destiny's Child are just sitting there, and there's nothing coming out that people are asking for."