Audio giant Bose is reportedly closing all of its retail stores in America and Canada, along with Europe, Japan, and Australia in a move towards an entirely digital sales plan. The company will keep about half of its global locations open, concentrating on China, India, and several other asian markets.
The Verge reports that speaker and headphones manufacturer Bose has announced plans to close its entire retail store footprint in North America, Europe, Japan, and Australia. The company stated that the vast majority of its speakers and headphones “are increasingly purchased through e-commerce” as its reasoning for closing the stores.
Bose opened its first physical store in 1993 and has many locations throughout shopping centers and malls across the United States. 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.
Colette Burke, Bose’s vice president of global sales, commented on the company’s decision stating: “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.”
The company will be shutting down a total of 119 stores in the coming months. It told the Verge via email: “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’s full statement on the situation reads:
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.
Bose products are still being sold on the company’s official site and many third-party retailers.