Future Shop closes all stores, cuts 1,500 jobs
Future Shop is no more.
Almost 14 years after American retailer Best Buy Co. Inc. bought the chain of electronics stores, the Canadian arm of the company announced Saturday it was closing all its Future Shop stores, either for good or temporarily in order to change them over to the Best Buy brand.
In a statement, Best Buy Canada said the decision comes as a result of a review of “its real estate footprint,” acknowledging that many Future Shop and Best Buy stores are located very close to each other, sometimes in the same parking lot.
The restructuring move means 1,500 people will lose their jobs, 500 full-time and 1,000 part-time positions. The company says the affected employees will receive severance, employee assistance and outplacement support.
Brandon Buchanan, a former Future Shop employee in Toronto who worked in the mobile audio section in 2012, said he was shocked to hear the stores are closing.
"That happened kind of suddenly, because a lot of the people I still know work here, apparently they showed up this morning and it was just locked out," he said.
Jasmin Au, of Windsor, Ont., says she had heard rumours that her Future Shop might be closing, but the news still came as a shock when it was delivered by one of her managers.
"It was just devastating," she told CTV Windsor. "It's really frustrating because there was no warning at all."
In total, 66 Future Shop locations have been closed for good, and an additional 65 stores will be closed for a week in order to start the transition over to the Best Buy brand. The company will now have 192 locations across Canada.
President and COO of Best Buy Canada Ron Wilson said in the statement that 80 per cent of the company’s customers are within a 15-minute drive from one of their stores, and this move won’t affect that statistic.
Best Buy says all Future Shop gift cards will be accepted at Best Buy locations and existing product orders, service appointments and warranties will be honoured at the stores as well. Visitors to the Future Shop website will be redirected to Best Buy’s.
Two years ago, Best Buy shuttered 15 locations across Canada and eliminated 900 jobs.
Among the stores closed were the Future Shop at the Forum in downtown Montreal and one in Laval, as well as two Best Buy stores in Lachenaie and Sherbrooke.
The company says it intends to invest up to $200 million into its remaining stores and its website, which will go towards increasing staffing levels and introducing the ability to ship an item from a store and not a warehouse.
Maureen Atkinson, a retail analyst with J.C. Williams Group, said it's workers, not consumers, who will feel the effects of this move. The employees being laid off now find themselves on the job market alongside former Target employees after that company closed its Canadian stores in January, affecting more than 17,000 employees.
"For the Canadian consumer there's probably very little impact. There still is a lot of competition in the marketplace and people are buying these things at everything from Wal-Mart to high end speciality stores," she said.
"I think it's not great if you work in retail. There's a lot of retail people out on the street given the Target closures too. So I think it's going to be a challenge employment-wise."
-- with files from The Canadian Press and CTVNews.ca