Audio equipment maker Bose Corporation is closing all of its brick-and-mortar retail stores across several global markets, including every retail location in North America. The company announced that it is about to close 119 stores, saying that it expects to close the stores over “the next several months.” In addition to all of the retail locations in North America, the closings also includes every Bose store in Europe, Japan, and Australia.
As part of the plan, Bose will be forced to lay off a considerable number of employees. Bose says it will offer affected employees a severance package and help through an outplacement assistant program.
Because Bose is not a publicly traded company, there is no requirement for the company to disclose exactly how many employees will be affected, but it is estimated to be in the hundreds.
In 1993, Bose opened its first store in the United States. Back then, having the products available to test in person was valuable. However, over the years, audio product quality has improved immensely and it has become easy to find reviews online. This has led to a shift in more consumers buying their audio equipment online.
It makes little business sense to keep retail locations open and employees on the clock when customers aren’t coming into the stores to shop. After the announced closures, 130 Bose stores will remain in Greater China and the United Arab Emirates, with some other locations in India, Southeast Asia, and South Korea. Bose products will also continue to be available for purchase on its website and through third-party stores like Amazon.
Colette Burke, Bose’s vice president of Global Sales, said in a statement, “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.”