London record store Low Company is closing down. 

In a newsletter shared yesterday (18th August), the store label’s founder Kiran Sande announced that the Hackney Downs shop would close permanently this Friday, 21st. Sande also emphasises that Low Company will not be operating as a digital marketplace after the physical store’s closure. “Whoever dreamed of running a webshop?” the statement reads. “If/when I do sell anything via the Low Company site, shipped from my hovel on the soft south coast, it will be sporadically, and grudgingly. To reiterate: THE SHOP IS DONE.”

Sande, who opened the store in 2017, explains that he had initially planned for it to shut in spring 2021, but that the coronavirus pandemic had sped up the process. “LC as a ‘somewhere’ doesn’t make a lot of sense in the post-COVID-19 shitescape,” he writes. “When all is said and done I opened a shop purely cos I wanted a place in London I could call my own to sit and hold court and drink and have a good moan. Face-masks, visors, perspex screens, anti-bac wipedowns, social-distancing and the constant doling out of hand-sanitiser were never part of my shop-keeping fantasies.”

Low Company will continue to operate as a record label, says Sande, who also ran experimental label Blackest Ever Black before it shut down last October, and will also continue to act as a manufacturer and distributor for a number of affiliate labels and artists.

While the shop is officially closing this Friday, customer pick up will be available from the store at limited hours until 7th September. 

Read Sande’s full newsletter here, which also emphasises his gratitude to his colleagues in the store, Kenny and Sanjay and Estelle.

Earlier this month, a new record store, Next Door Records, opened in Shepherd’s Bush, London. In the wake of the coronavirus pandemic, record stores have been allowed to open in the UK since June. During lockdown, an interactive map was developed to show what independent record stores were still operating in a limited capacity, and how you can buy from them. In that time, Bristol record shop Idle Hands issued a stark warning on how the pandemic might affect small, independent businesses.