Future Shop

Future Shop parent Best Buy is consolidating, with some stores closing, other rebranding. Best Buy outlined its plans in a statement released today, saying it had conducted a review of its Canadian operations before making these changes. Roughly half the Future Shop locations will survive the cuts.

Best Buy stated:

The result of this review is the closure of 66 Future Shop locations, effective today. Concurrently, an additional 65 Future Shop stores will be temporarily closed for one week as they begin their transition to the Best Buy brand. The company will now have a total of 192 locations across Canada, including 136 large-format stores and 56 Best Buy Mobile stores.

About 500 full-time and 1,000 part-time employees will lose their jobs as part of the changes, and the Future Shop website will also be consolidated under the BestBuy.com site. Gift cards, exchanges, and customer service for Future Shop will continue to be honored by Best Buy.

Future Shop opened its first stores in British Columbia in 1983 and in 10 years became the largest consumer electronic retailer in Canada. Best Buy acquired Future Shop in 2001.

To strengthen its position as Canada's leading provider of consumer electronics products, services and solutions, Best Buy Canada, a subsidiary of Best Buy Co., Inc. (NYSE:BBY) – which owns and operates both Best Buy and Future Shop stores – today announced it is consolidating the Future Shop and Best Buy stores and websites under the Best Buy brand and unveiled an ambitious plan to build a leading multi-channel customer experience.

Best Buy Canada also announced today it has reviewed its real estate footprint to address the fact that a significant number of its Future Shop and Best Buy stores are located adjacent to each other, often in the same parking lot. The result of this review is the closure of 66 Future Shop locations, effective today. Concurrently, an additional 65 Future Shop stores will be temporarily closed for one week as they begin their transition to the Best Buy brand. The company will now have a total of 192 locations across Canada, including 136 large-format stores and 56 Best Buy Mobile stores.

"Currently, 80 per cent of our customers are within a 15 minute drive to a store and this won't change," said Ron Wilson, President and COO of Best Buy Canada. "We will continue to have a strong store presence in all major markets in Canada."

As a result of this consolidation, approximately 500 full-time and 1,000 part-time positions will be eliminated. The affected employees will receive severance, employee assistance and outplacement support.

"Any decisions that impact our people are never taken lightly; our first priority is to support them through this change," Wilson said. "I want to express my appreciation to the employees who are leaving, for their contributions to Best Buy Canada."

Providing a seamless customer experience to all Future Shop and Best Buy customers is a key focus throughout this transition. All Future Shop gift cards will be accepted at any Best Buy Canada location and at BestBuy.ca. Existing product orders, service appointments and warranties will continue to be honoured and Future Shop purchases to be returned or exchanged will also be accepted at any Best Buy. For information on store changes and opening dates, customers are encouraged to visit our store locator. Customers with any questions can visit BestBuy.ca/questions or call 1-866-BEST-BUY (1-866-237-8289). Customers who visit FutureShop.ca will be guided to BestBuy.ca.

Looking ahead, investments of up to $200 million dollars will be made in Best Buy stores and BestBuy.ca, to build a leading multi-channel customer experience. This multi-faceted strategy will include: (1) launching major home appliances in all stores; (2) working with our vendor partners to bring their products to life in a more compelling way; (3) increasing our staffing levels to better serve our customers; (4) investing in the online shopping experience, for example by expanding in-store pick-up areas for online customers and launching a ship-from-store program, making in-store inventory available to online customers across the country.

Image: Stu pendousmat at en.wikipedia