By Brianna Ahearn, contributing writer
Consumer electronics company Best Buy operated all of its Future Shops in Canada, however, soon 66 of those brick and mortar locations recently shut their doors for good. The remaining 65 were closed for one week to undergo rebranding as Best Buy stores. Best Buy Canada, a subsidiary of Best Buy Co. Inc, announced the changes via press release on March 28, 2015. The closures and rebranding come after the company examined its real estate footprint, and found many of its Future Shop locations and Best Buy stores were located adjacent to each other. After the changes are complete for Future Shop, Best Buy will have 192 locations total throughout Canada, with 135 large-format stores and 56 Best Buy Mobile stores. Best Buy Canada says that they will continue to meet all of Canadian customers' electronic needs.
“Currently, 80% of our customers are within a 15 minute drive to a store and this won’t change,” says Ron Wilson, President and COO of Best Buy Canada. “We will continue to have a strong store presence in all major markets in Canada.”
With the closures and consolidation of Best Buy's business in Canada will come the elimination of over 1,500 positions, however, the employees affected will receive a severance, employee assistance and outplacement support. The changes are part of a larger scale plan to increase business and create a seamless multi-channel experience by Best Buy. The company plans to invest $200 million in their stores and BestBuy.ca. The investments will include increasing staff numbers, expanding their online shopping features such as increasing availability of ship-to-store options and improving access to in-store inventory to online customers. Best Buy also plans to include major home appliance departments in their Best Buy Canada stores and work with vendors to find new ways to showcase their products in-store.
The changes are already in effect on FutureShop.ca, with visitors are greeted with a message about the consolidation. The website promises consumers that “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,” and also states that all current Future Shop orders will be fulfilled for customers. BestBuy.ca. and all Best Buy stores in Canada and BestBuy.ca. are accepting Future Shop gift cards as well.
Future Shop was founded in 1982 in British Columbia, and by 1990, had 35 locations throughout North America. In 2001, Best Buy Co. Inc acquired Future Shop and kept the Future Shop branding in the stores, however, it soon became apparent that the stores were cannibalizing each other. In 2013, Best Buy started closing several Future Shop locations to avoid this and optimize their retail footprint, and shift attention to online in a bid to ward off the increasing popularity of Amazon.com for consumer electronics. Best Buy isn't the only U.S. retailer to change up its strategy in Canada either, as Target's Canadian exit is coming to a close this month.