Audio manufacturer Bose is getting out of the retail business. Bose announced today that it will close 119 stores across Australia, North America, Europe and Japan in 2020.
The company will keep its bricks and mortar presence in Asia and the Middle East.
The closure of Bose it a two-pronged hit for the music industry. The industry has been long suffering at retail as record companies transition their customers to streaming media which in turn is forcing stores out of business.
The extension of less physical product and less stores is less market for high end sound equipment, such as Bose. By operating purely as a manufacturer and exiting retail, Bose can now leverage in-store sales through to department stores like Myer, David Jones and JB Hi-Fi without having the retail rental costs.
Here is the full statement from Bose:
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 subwoofer for home 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.