Another shock to the retail system in Canada, and one that was quite sudden, but shoppers looking to go out and buy some computers, Blu-rays, video games or other electric what-nots at Future Shop were left disappointed. All Future Shop locations across Canada were closed this morning, about half of them will be closed forever, but the rest of them, including the Guelph location, will become Best Buys by this time next week.
This news started making the rounds on social media shortly after 9 am, when many of the stores are suppose to open for business. Instead, as the Guelph Mercury discovered, were signs like this one:
"Temporarily closed and will reopen Saturday April 4. We appreciate your patience during this transition and look forward to serving you again when we reopen."
That's if your Future Shop store was one of the lucky ones that will be back once the hiatus is over. In total, 66 Future Shop stores will be closed forever, the rationale being that many Future Shop and Best Buy locations are situated one next to the other. Best Buy bought Future Shop in 2001, so in the end some kind of downsizing inside one of the brands was inevitable, surprising that it took almost 14 years, but still inevitable.
On the bright side, warranties, gift cards and returns of products purchased at Future Shop will be handled through Best Buy.
Here's the press release from Best Buy Canada about the consolidation:
BURNABY, BC – March 28, 2015 – To strengthen its position as Canada’s leading provider of consumer electronics products, services and solutions, Best Buy Canada, a subsidiary of Best Buy Co., Inc. (NYSE:BBY) – which owns and operates both Best Buy and Future Shop stores – today announced it is consolidating the Future Shop and Best Buy stores and websites under the Best Buy brand and unveiled an ambitious plan to build a leading multi-channel customer experience.
Best Buy Canada also announced today it has reviewed its real estate footprint to address the fact that a significant number of its Future Shop and Best Buy stores are located adjacent to each other, often in the same parking lot. The result of this review is the closure of 66 Future Shop locations, effective today. Concurrently, an additional 65 Future Shop stores will be temporarily closed for one week as they begin their transition to the Best Buy brand. The company will now have a total of 192 locations across Canada, including 136 large-format stores and 56 Best Buy Mobile stores.
“Currently, 80 per cent of our customers are within a 15 minute drive to a store and this won’t change,” said Ron Wilson, President and COO of Best Buy Canada. “We will continue to have a strong store presence in all major markets in Canada.”
As a result of this consolidation, approximately 500 full-time and 1,000 part-time positions will be eliminated. The affected employees will receive severance, employee assistance and outplacement support.
“Any decisions that impact our people are never taken lightly; our first priority is to support them through this change,” Wilson said. “I want to express my appreciation to the employees who are leaving, for their contributions to Best Buy Canada.”
Providing a seamless customer experience to all Future Shop and Best Buy customers is a key focus throughout this transition. All Future Shop gift cards will be accepted at any Best Buy Canada location and at BestBuy.ca. Existing product orders, service appointments and warranties will continue to be honoured and Future Shop purchases to be returned or exchanged will also be accepted at any Best Buy. For information on store changes and opening dates, customers are encouraged to visit our store locator. Customers with any questions can visit BestBuy.ca/questions or call 1-866-BEST-BUY (1-866-237-8289). Customers who visit FutureShop.ca will be guided to BestBuy.ca.
Looking ahead, investments of up to $200 million dollars will be made in Best Buy stores and BestBuy.ca, to build a leading multi-channel customer experience. This multi-faceted strategy will include: (1) launching major home appliances in all stores; (2) working with our vendor partners to bring their products to life in a more compelling way; (3) increasing our staffing levels to better serve our customers; (4) investing in the online shopping experience, for example by expanding in-store pick-up areas for online customers and launching a ship-from-store program, making in-store inventory available to online customers across the country.