WITH record stores across the country closing down, Brighton has once again bucked the trend.

Bella Union opened in Ship Street Gardens earlier this month with sales already better than expected.

It is thought to be the only music stote in the country selling exclusively the releases of just one record label, also called Bella Union.

The label has bands such as Fleet Foxes, Mercury Rev and Flaming Lips on its roster.

Owner and label founder Simon Raymonde said the first weeks had been promising.

Mr Raymonde, 54, who lives in Hove, said: "It's a surreal feeling to be up and running.

"A new record shop at a time when we hear other independent retailers are closing is one thing, but this is a record shop only selling the label's products. I believe it is the first of its kind in the UK."

The shop, which sells vinyl, CDs and limited cassettes, will be managed by Mr Raymonde's wife Abbey. And there will be midnight openings on some Thursday nights for those who want their vinyl first-thing on a Friday.

Mr Raymonde said: "We took on the lease last year and it feels great to finally have the door open at last.

"It's a small shop and a nice HQ for the label. Making it so it only sells our own label stuff just seems a bit different."

Mr Raymonde previously played in Scottish rock outfit Cocteau Twins from 1983 up until the band split in 1997.

"It's in my blood really," he said.

The opening day on Wednesday, June 15, was marked by two special events.

Fiona Brice, an arranger for musician John Grant and a Brighton resident, released her debut modern classical solo album entitled Postcards From, and performed a special lunchtime set and signed copies of the vinyl.

Later on, US rock band Mercury Rev signed copies of their new album The Light In You.

Mr Raymonde added: "We continue to support and cherish Resident Records, who are one of the finest indie retailers in the land, and who have been so good to Bella Union over the years.

"This shop is not in competition with other vinyl retailers in Brighton. A vibrant, eclectic and healthy choice for customers is good for everyone."