Bose is closing all of its retail stores in Europe, North America, Japan and Australia. Yesterday, the audio-tech company announced that the popularity of buying online meant their retail outlets in those territories were no longer viable.
Unfortunately, this will lead to hundreds of lay-offs across the company. Bose have opted to keep the exact number private but, with a total of 119 stores closing down, this will mean bad news for a lot of Bose employees.
The company told Trusted Reviews: “Given the dramatic shift to online shopping in specific markets, Bose plans to close its remaining 119 retail stores across North America, Europe, Japan and Australia over the next several months. In other parts of the world, Bose stores will remain open, including approximately 130 stores located in Greater China and the United Arab Emirates; and additional stores in India, Southeast Asia, and South Korea.”
For some audiophiles, this will no doubt be sad news. The idea of going into a Bose shop to test out a sound system before buying is a real, tangible experience and more of an occasion than simply clicking ‘buy now’ and waiting for the delivery guy. Of course, plenty of other outlets will offer the same experience, even doing so with Bose products, but the closure of so many stores is a sign of the times.
Colette Burke, Bose’s vice president of Global Sales, recalled that tangible experience, she said: “Originally, our retail stores gave people a way to experience, test, and talk to us about multi-component, CD and DVD-based home entertainment systems. At the time, it was a radical idea, but we focused on what our customers needed, and where they needed it – and we’re doing the same thing now.
“It’s still difficult, because the decision impacts some of our amazing store teams who make us proud every day. They take care of every person who walks through our doors – whether that’s helping with a problem, giving expert advice, or just letting someone take a break and listen to great music. Over the years, they’ve set the standard for customer service. And everyone at Bose is grateful.”
Bose has been selling sound systems from US retail stores since 1993, so this is a seismic shift for the company and arguably for the retail landscape.