Future Shop location to reopen as Best Buy
Store closures across Canada come as no surprise to retail analysts
Wednesday, Apr 01, 2015 06:00 am
The windows of the Future Shop at 760 St. Albert Trail are covered in paper. A sign next to the door says the store will reopen on Saturday. But it will be a Best Buy then.
On the weekend, Best Buy Canada announced the closure of 66 Future Shop locations, with the remaining 65 stores to be rebranded as Best Buy. In an email, a spokesperson for Best Buy said the company will invest $200 million over the next two years to provide “an improved single-brand customer experience, both in-store and online.”
The closures came as no surprise to retail analysts. Kyle Murray, director of the school of retailing at the University of Alberta, said Best Buy has owned Future Shop since 2001. It was expected that the two would eventually merge.
“I think what they decided to do was to eventually take this opportunity as the economy turns down a bit in Alberta and Western Canada to close a few stores and turn the rest into Best Buys,” he said.
Murray expects other stores will follow suit in coming years. The retail landscape is changing. Online competitors, such as Amazon, are growing much faster than regular stores. Many retailers will want to shift their focus to online sales and won’t need as much physical space.
“If the sales trends continue, we will see more and more electronic retailing and that means there is less need for as many stores,” he said.
What these trends mean for many employees in stores remains unknown.
As a result of the closures, about 500 full-time and 1,000 part-time positions at Future Shop were lost. The affected employees will receive severance, employee assistance and outplacement support. The company did not comment on the positions of St. Albert Future Shop employees.
But every time one retailer closes, another one also opens up, said Murray. And even as companies make the switch to online, customer service jobs won’t die. There is always a need for face-to-face interaction, he said.
“I think you will lose some in-store jobs and you end up with other opportunities in other spaces,” he said.
The St. Albert Future Shop is set to re-open on Saturday, April 4. All Future Shop products, including 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.
Impacted customers will be contacted directly regarding delivery, appointments, on-site units or pre-orders. They can also call 1-866-237-8289 with questions or visit bestbuy.ca for information.