Vinyl Boom Shows No Sign of Slowing as U.K.'s Second Biggest Supermarket Starts Selling Records

Sainsbury's 2016
Matthew Lloyd/Matthew Lloyd/getty Images for Sainsbury's


Sainsbury’s, the U.K.’s second largest supermarket retailer, is to begin selling vinyl records for the first time since the '80s.

From Monday 21 March, shoppers will be able to pick up 12” copies of everything from Adele’s 25 to Led Zeppelin IV to The Smiths’ 1986 masterpiece The Queen Is Dead in 171 of its 1,200 U.K. stores. 

Other titles that will be on sale priced between £12.00 ($17.00) and £20.00 ($29.00) include classic albums by AC/DC, Bob Marley, David Bowie, Amy Winehouse, Fleetwood Mac, The Eagles, Nick Drake, Nirvana, The Beatles and The Stone Roses.

In a statement announcing the launch, Pete Selby, Sainsbury’s head of music and books, said the reintroduction of vinyl to its stores was not “a novelty gifting fad, but a complimentary part of our existing music offer with a long term future in our stores.”

“Vinyl is definitely experiencing a revival with demand growing stronger year on year. It is our aim to make the vinyl experience easy and pleasurable for our customers who are ready to re-engage with a format that resonates with them on an emotional level,” he went on to say.

Sainsbury’s return to the vinyl market follows on the heels of Tesco, the U.K.’s biggest supermarket chain, which began stocking vinyl records in December last year. Like Sainsbury’s offering, they were sold at a comparable price range and included a not dissimilar mix of classic and contemporary titles. HMV’s, the U.K.’s biggest entertainment retailer, also reintroduced vinyl to all its U.K. stores last summer for the first time since the '90s as it sought to capitalize on the format’s unlikely and much-publicized renaissance.  

In 2015, vinyl consumption hit a 21-year high in Britain, with just over 2 million vinyl records sold, a 64 percent rise on the previous year. Although that only accounts for a small percentage of the U.K.’s overall record sales, the popularity of vinyl has been credited with fueling a rise in the number of brick-and-mortar music retailers.

Last year, that figure hit almost 15,000, according to the Entertainment Retailers Association (ERA), largely due to a rise in the number of general and non-traditional store retailers, such as Tesco, selling a small range of chart or specialist music product.

The vinyl revival has also been credited with contributing to a gradual increase in the number of independent record stores, with over 40 new shops opening in the U.K. over the past five years, according to ERA.

The biggest selling vinyl album in the U.K. in 2015 was Adele’s 25, followed by Amy Winehouse’s Back To Black and The Stones Roses eponymous 1989 debut.


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