This year’s store closures get off to an early start

Bose joins the ranks of retailers like Pier 1, Links of London and IKEA that have begun 2020 by scaling back their store footprints.
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Only a few weeks into 2020, several retailers have announced intentions to reduce the amount of bricks-and-mortar stores they operate in the Canadian retail market.

Today, upscale audio and home entertainment brand Bose announced the closure of all its retail locations in North America, Europe, Japan and Australia. The move will impact 119 stores globally, including five in Canada. Those are on top of a handful of others that have previously closed in recent years, including a store in Vancouver that shuttered last fall.

“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, VP of global sales at Bose, in a statement. “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.”

Bose will continue to sell direct to consumers through its ecommerce platform and continues to be stocked at other retailers, such as Best Buy. The company said in today’s announcement that most of its products are increasingly purchased through online channels.

Last week, jewelry brand Links of London announced it would be closing its five Canadian locations. The stores were opened in 2016 after Holt Renfrew – Links’ primary retail partner at the time – was looking to make space in its stores for other luxury brands (the Links stores were located in malls that also had a Holts location). For its part, Holt Renfrew closed its own store in Edmonton last week.

Home decor and furniture retailer Pier 1 announced it would be closing 450 stores across North America at the beginning of the month, on top of 150 previously announced closures from earlier in 2019. Though the U.S.-based company has not filed for bankruptcy, Reuters has previously reported that the plan to create a smaller company had been presented to creditors last month. Pier 1 has not released a list of which stores would be closed or how many of its 65 Canadian locations would be affected, though staff at individual stores have confirmed impending closures in cities such as Winnipeg and Oshawa.

IKEA Canada also announced on Monday it would be closing its five pick-up and order locations, which were opened in Kitchener, London, St. Catharines, Whitby and Windsor in 2015 as part of a global test of new retail concepts (a sixth location in Quebec City was closed in 2018 when a full-sized location opened in the area). The company said the test had been completed, and though it resulted in the company deciding to close the locations, it would take insights to inform other business decisions: the company plans to open at least one smaller-scale retail format in Toronto, targeted at urban customers.