Marui selling to Tsutaya chain operator.

Tokyo-based Culture Convenience Club, which operates the 1,158-store Tsutaya music and video retail/rental chain, is buying Virgin Megastores Japan from department-store operator Marui. VMJ has 22 stores.

"Virgin Megastores and our group's Tsutaya stores share the same customer base, and by making VMJ a part of our group, we will be able to diversify the configuration of our stores, leading to a bigger share of the CD and DVD sales market," Culture Convenience Club says in a statement.

VMJÕs management is expected to step down. Company reps could not be reached by deadline.

VMJ was established in 1990 as a 50-50 joint venture between the Virgin Group and Marui; the chain became a wholly owned subsidiary of Marui in April 2003. VMJ is believed to be operating in the red despite restructuring efforts by Marui, such as the January 2004 closure of the flagship Virgin Megastore in Tokyo's Shinjuku district.

CCC says it is negotiating with U.K.-based Virgin Enterprises for the use of the Virgin brand after the VMJ purchase is complete.