OXFORD is set to get an independent record shop again, which its owners hope will become a hub for local music.

Rapture, which has branches in Witney and Evesham, in Worcestershire, is to move into the former Videosyncratic video store, in Cowley Road, East Oxford, from next month.

The move follows a weekend-long trial opening at the store during last year’s OX4 music festival in Cowley Road, which was organised by the team behind the county’s annual Truck music festival, held in Steventon every summer. Rapture owner Gary Smith said: “The guys from Truck said it would be a great idea to have an independent record shop, as Oxford is sorely missing one.

“We did it during the OX4 festival, and had a really great response. Lots of people said they wished we were here permanently.”

The shop, which will be called Truck Store, will be run by Rapture with marketing help from the Truck team. It is set to open on Thursday, February 10.

Mr Smith said: “It’s very exciting. We will be using our experience and contacts and relationships with record companies.

“It’s a real shame that with Oxford’s musical history and legacy, and the current crop of bands here, that there’s no decent independent shop.”

Polar Bear records, which was based in Cowley Road, opposite what is now the O2 Academy, was the street’s last new music shop. It closed three years ago.

The Truck Store will stock CDs and vinyl, specialising in independent and alternative releases, as well as comics, Truck merchandise and concert and festival tickets. It will also host live performances.

Rapture, which opened its first store at the Woolgate Centre in Witney in 2004, has recently hosted gigs by bands such as Scouting for Girls and McFly.

Mr Smith said he was confident about the new shop’s success, despite the tough economic climate.

He said: “It’s a risk, but when we opened in Witney six years ago people said it was a risky business. However, we’re still here and going strong.

He added: “We pride ourselves on customer service and stock knowledge and that’s what people will get. Friendly staff, great stock and great service.”

Truck Festival organiser Robin Bennett said: “This will be not just a record shop, but a cultural hub for the local independent music scene.

“Oxford desperately needs something like this, and Cowley Road is the right place to do it.”

  • The HMV Group, which owns the music chain and Waterstone’s bookstores, said its Oxfordshire shops were unlikely to be affected by planned closures.

The group will close 60 of its 600 HMV and Waterstone's shops over the next 12 months after it reported a 13.6 per cent fall in like-for-like sales in the five weeks to January 1, compared withe 2009.

Oxford has an HMV shop in Cornmarket Street and a Waterstone's nearby in Broad Street.

It also has a Waterstone’s and HMV in Banbury. The firm said there was a possibility of combining the two brands in one shop, but only where there was a large space available.