Future Shop has closed all its stores across Canada with employees being informed as they showed up to work Saturday morning, according to several published reports.
Visitors to the web site and users of the Future Shop app are receiving a message that Future Shop has been closed, and the brand consolidated with that of parent company Best Buy Canada.
“Best Buy and Future Shop are consolidating as Best Buy. This means all of the products, services and features you have come to expect from Future Shop and FutureShop.ca will now be available at Best Buy and BestBuy.ca,” says a message on the Future Shop web site. “Many of our Future Shop stores will be renovated and rebranded as Best Buy stores. These stores will be temporarily closed until April 4th. Some Future Shop stores that are located in close proximity to an existing Best Buy store will be permanently closed as of March 28th.”
According to the web site, outstanding orders places with Futureshop.ca and scheduled home deliveries will continue as planned. People who purchased a product online for in store pickup will be contacted to make arrangements. Best Buy will honour Future Shop gift cards and e-certificates.
According to a Best Buy press release some 66 Future Shop locations will be closed, and 65 are only temporarily closed as they transition to the Best Buy brand. The consolidation will leave the company with 192 locations in Canada: 136 big box stores and 56 Best Buy Mobile locations.
“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., in a statement “We will continue to have a strong store presence in all major markets in Canada.”
The company also confirmed 500 full time and 1,000 part time positions will be lost. They 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.”
Future Shop was founded in Burnaby, BC in 1982 and went on to dominate the big box electronics retailer market in Canada until it was purchased by U.S. retailer Best Buy for $580 million in 2001. Best Buy expanded into Canada under its own brand but continued to operate and even expand the Future Shop brand. The two brands operated many stores in close proximity to one another with largely the same products but slightly different sales models: Future Shop staff sold on commission, while Best Buy’s did not.
While as of January 2013 Future Shop operated some 139 stores across Canada, since then it has downsized considerably. In 2015 alone, it has closed locations in Ottawa, Regina, Kingston, Ont. and two in Nova Scotia. Some 950 employees across both Best Buy and Future Shop were laid off in January as part of a restructuring designed to help it better compete with online competitors such as Amazon.
Like many retailers, Future Shop has suffered from the phenomenon of shoppers coming into the retail location to touch and feel the product, and then going home to purchase it for less from an online retailer.
While Best Buy and Future Shop were slow to release an official statement, social media quickly sprang to life Saturday morning as reports of the closures began to circulate.
Pictures from Future Shop at Sunrise Centre in Kitchener. pic.twitter.com/A4Ky0J5UWH
— Eric Drozd (@EricDrozd) March 28, 2015
Future Shop DX: pic.twitter.com/31UlaZX21a
— C. Mike Hunt (@CMikeHunt) March 28, 2015