THE spectacular comeback of the vinyl LP has coincided with the return of a record shop to central Bournemouth.

Figures released earlier this week show vinyl record sales reached their highest levels in 25 years, boosted by “millennials” who were not around in the heyday of the format.

Locally, radio producer and former 2CR DJ Alan Rowett and his partner Chrissy Collier opened a Bournemouth branch of the Vault just before Christmas. The business started in Stalbridge and the pair opened a Christchurch shop in 2014.

“It’s on two floors. It’s what I call our megastore,” said Mr Rowett of the Old Christchurch Road shop, which stocks between 10,000 and 15,000 LPs as well as CDs. They opened the store within two weeks of agreeing the lease.

More than 3.2milion LPs were sold in 2016, a rise of 53 per cent on 2015 and the highest annual total since 1991, when Simply Red’s Stars was the best-selling album.

The revival of the format has even spread to supermarkets, with Sainsbury’s stocking around 200 titles.

Mr Rowett said the attractiveness of LPs was key to the resurgence.

“It’s something to hold. A download is 99p, you hit a button and it’s on your phone and you play it. But buying a record, you’re getting the artwork, you get a gatefold sleeve, you’re getting something to read. And buying a record, you play it all the way through,” he said.

“You sit and listen to all 20 minutes of a side. You’re listening to an album as it was meant to be, not just a three-minute pop song.”

He said the age profile and the tastes of the customers were “across the board”.

“In Christchurch, you know what people are going to buy, based on the age demographic of the town, but in Bournemouth it’s a very wide spread,” he said.

“You get kids of 17 or 18 buying Led Zeppelin and the Doors and things like that. I think, how have you come across bands like this?”

Research has suggested that nearly half of LP-buyers either don’t play the record or don’t own a turntable.

Mr Rowett said: “It’s more the younger people. They come and say ‘I’m going to put it on my wall’.”

The five top-selling LPs of 2016 were Blackstar by David Bowie, Back to Black by Amy Winehouse, Guardians of the Galaxy Mix 1, A Moon Shaped Pool by Radiohead and Rumours by Fleetwood Mac.