As Sales Shift to E-Commerce, Bose Shutters Retail Stores

Bose, which opened its first retail store in 1993, will close its remaining 119 retail stores in Australia, Europe, Japan and North America. The company didn’t reveal how many jobs will be lost due to the closures, but it is believed to be in the hundreds. Bose stated that the move is due to “the dramatic shift to online shopping in specific markets,” and that “approximately 130 stores located in Greater China and the United Arab Emirates; and additional stores in India, Southeast Asia, and South Korea” will remain open.

The Verge reports that Colette Burke, vice president of global sales for Bose, noted that the Massachusetts-based privately held company opened retail stores as a way to “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,” she said. “It’s still difficult, because the decision impacts some of our amazing store teams who make us proud every day … Over the years, they’ve set the standard for customer service.”

The company is “offering outplacement assistance and severance to employees that are being laid off.”

CNN reports that, “mirroring a broader shift in the retail industry, Bose said that it doesn’t need brick-and-mortar stores because its customers are buying their products online.” Bose products are also for sale on an Amazon storefront and at Best Buy, Target and other big retailers.

According to Coresight Research, in 2019, “U.S. retailers announced 9,302 store closings, a 59 percent jump from 2018 and the highest number since [it] began tracking the data in 2012.” UBS analysts estimated that, “online sales make up around 16 percent of retail sales today, but they will rise to 25 percent by 2026 … [which] could force up to 75,000 more store closures by 2026, including some 20,000 clothing stores and up to 10,000 consumer electronics stores.”