Bose is closing retail stores in North America, Europe, Japan and Australia, 100s will be laid off
The company has reasoned that headphones, speakers and other products are increasingly being purchased online
In a move that will lead to hundreds of employees being laid off, Bose is planning to close its entire retail store footprint in North America, Europe, Australia and Japan. Bose announced this decision and reasoned that their products are "increasingly purchased through e-commerce".
Bose had opened its first retail store in 1993 and has stores spread across shopping centres and malls in the countries it plans to shut shop in. The company has been using these stores to showcase their product line-up that has grown in leaps and bounds beyond Bose's signature noise-canceling range. It now includes smart speakers and sunglasses the double as earbuds.
The Massachusetts-based company is a privately owned and is not revealing exactly how many employees will be laid off by this decision, but it can be understood that the numbers will be in the hundreds.
"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," said Colette Burke, Bose's vice president of global sales.
Bose is shuttering its retail presence in Japan, Europe, North America and Australia "over the next few months" and that adds up to a total of 119 stores, according to a spokesperson.
"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," the company told The Verge.
Bose has said that it is offering outplacement assistance and severance to employees that are being laid off. The company's full statement is below:
"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 Burke.
"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," Burke added.
Bose will be offering outplacement assistance and severance to affected employees. Additional details, including the number of employees affected, will remain private.