The days of walking into a Bose store and sampling its latest products are over for many customers around the world, as the company recently announced plans to close its entire retail platform in several countries, citing how its products “are increasingly purchased through e-commerce.”
Bose plans on closing 119 stores over the next few months in North America, Europe, Japan and Australia, leading to hundreds of employees being laid off, with outplacement assistance and severance available. Stores in emerging markets like Greater China and the UAE will remain open
“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,” says Colette Burke, vice president of global sales, Bose. “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.”
The closure may be a prime opportunity for integrators, since demo-seeking Bose customers will now either have to go through an AV professional or through shrinking retail options like big-box stores.
Here is the full statement from the company:
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.
In 1993, Bose opened its first store in the United States to provide personal, private demonstrations for Wave music systems and Lifestyle home theater systems. As smartphones changed the industry, the company’s focus turned to mobile, Bluetooth, and Wi-Fi solutions. Today, Bose noise-cancelling headphones, truly wireless sport earbuds, portable speakers, and smart speakers are increasingly purchased through e-commerce, including Bose.com; and Bose is a larger multi-national company, with a localized mix of channels tailored for a country or region.
“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,” said Colette Burke, vice president of Global Sales, Bose Corporation. “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 will be offering outplacement assistance and severance to affected employees. Additional details, including the number of employees affected, will remain private.