ONE of Limerick's few remaining independent music stores, Empire Music, is to close due to trading difficulties, with the potential loss of four jobs.
In a further blow to the city, the store - which opened in the heart of O'Connell Street 22 years ago - is to close its doors once it has shifted its last remaining stock.
Huge banners advertising a cut-price closing down sale have been placed in the store windows, and Empire Music owner Dave Jackson has confirmed the store is to close.
However, the site of hundreds of people queuing up to get their hands on concert tickets outside the store may not be gone forever, as Mr Jackson told the Limerick Leader that he hopes to set up an alternative business on site, which will still incorporate a ticket desk.
Mr Jackson has insisted there will be no interruption to the company's Ticketmaster service. "Its not going to be an empty shop. We will be going into another business, and keeping our Ticketmaster facility. There will be no interruption to that service," he confirmed.
In Empire Music's heyday, hundreds of people queued down O'Connell Street for tickets - including for the U2 Slane Castle concerts in 2001, when people brought deck chairs.
But with the advent of shopping for tickets online - and music stores at the Crescent Shopping Centre - Empire Music's appeal has dropped. Last summer, when tickets for singer Miley Cyrus's Irish concerts went on sale, despite long queues outside Empire, very few people secured tickets because they sold out online.
"Business has been decline for a few years, especially in our business. The city has become so quiet for the last two years, it hs hard to keep going," Mr Jackson said.
"It's a sad day that an independent Limerick businessman cannot keep going on the city's main street. But we have seen over the last six months that many other shops have closed. When you see the likes of Centra closing - luckily it has since been opened again - and the chemist. These are all independent stores owned by local people. These are tough times."
He said he had not decided when the shop is to cease trading - it was dependent on when they shifted their final stock.