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How Future Shop quickly became a way of the past

April 1st, 2015 by

Why the chain shut down all of its stores across Canada over the weekend


If the future is here, it forgot to invite Future Shop. 

In a statement released Saturday, parent company Best Buy Ltd. announced a sudden and immediate closure of 66 Future Shop locations across the country - and another 65 location conversions into Best Buys. 

Just a decade ago, Future Shop was raking in $1,000 per square foot in sales - a feat unheard of at the time, retail analyst John Winter told CBC

But two years ago, online retail shifted the landscape. Best Buy was just one of a number of retailers forced to either adapt - or acquit. 

Having bought Future Shop for $580 million in 2001, Best Buy saw little other choice but to close eight Future Shop and seven Best Buy locations across the country.

Still, the economic impact of the decision wasn't near what we can expect to see now.

Reports estimate that about 500 full-time jobs and 1,000 part-time jobs will be eliminated. But it's not all violins and raindrops. About half will still have the option to dust off the old resumes, get a cover letter primed and prepped to go, and happily reapply at the 65 new Best Buys taking over the store space. You're welcome, employees. Yes, we know - not quite as promising as one might hope.

Go now - you're free

After showing up to locked doors and a notice announcing something similar to "See ya' never" Saturday morning, employees were told the news. They'd had no idea they wouldn't have a job to go to when they woke up that morning. Many experts are condemning the company's choice to keep its employees out of the loop - but to Best Buy's credit, it might have been a difficult conversation to have.

Particularly when it's a conversation that would have been punctuated with the reality that Best Buy is also making plans to funnel $200 million into its Best Buy stores and BestBuy.ca, which means smaller paychecks for shareholders, too. The spending is expected to cut earnings per share by between 10 cents USD to 20 cents USD over the coming year to $2.56 per share, Reuters reported. 

The future of shops

And it may be worth it. After all, as data from retail consultant firm J. C. Williams Group suggests, Canadians now do a third of all their electronics shopping online. Last year, findings from a Statistics Canada study found Canadian businesses had sold more than $136 billion in goods online in 2012 (the most recent data available) with growth in e-commerce sales outpacing growth in traditional retail sales by more than five times. The retail sector accounted for $7.7 billion of those sales (and surprise, surprise - you likely contributed a whopping $954 to that total in the year, if an Ipsos Reid study proved to be any indication).

Add it to the list

Now, Future Shop joins the long list of closures in the last year in the Canadian retail landscape, including Target, Smart Set, Mexx, Sony, and Radio Shack. But as they say - better to leave still standing (and Future Shop certainly left with that much). 

On the upside - there's clearly a future in the courier business.


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