In a week when Bang & Olufsen announced its third consecutive quarterly loss, suggestions another respected hi-fi firm may also be feeling the pinch have arisen, with Bose announcing plans to close its entire retail store footprint in North America, Europe, Japan and Australia. The company with its stores aimed to deliver a way for customers to experience its products without purchasing first, but the booming growth of e-commerce has since made it outdated.
Having the products available to test in person was valuable in the 1990s when Bose opened its first United States store, but over the years the general quality of audio products has improved so much and the visibility of reviews has grown to a degree that people can buy online more confidently.
The shock news was revealed yesterday afternoon, with the high-end headphone and speaker retailer announcing 119 brick-and-mortar stores are set to close globally.
"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", Burke said.
In a statement sent to Business Insider, Bose said that it would not disclose how many store employees would lose their jobs.
It's not all bad news though.
Curiously, that doesn't seem to apply to the company's 130 other stores, at least those located in China, UAE, South Korea, India, and Southeast Asia. You just won't be able to walk under that big, bold "BOSE" sign, go inside and hold your own Bose kit auditions. The company showcases its product lineup in these stores which ranges from noise-canceling headphones to smart speakers and bone conductive sunglasses that quietly play music to the wearer. "It's still hard, because the decision impacts some of our awesome store teams who make us proud every day", Burke's statement continued. Hundreds of its retail workers will be laid off as a result of the stores closing, but they will be offered severance and outplacement assistance.
The company said the store was opened to provide personal, private demonstrations for Wave music systems and Lifestyle home theatre systems. Additional details, including the number of employees affected, will remain private. As smartphones changed the industry, the company's focus turned to mobile, Bluetooth, and Wi-Fi solutions. "And everyone at Bose is grateful".