Future Shop stores closing across Canada

The big-box retailer is shedding 1,000 part-time and 500 full-time jobs

Future shop

Storm clouds gather above the troubled technology retailer

TORONTO – Future Shop stores across Canada are closing effective immediately, resulting in hundreds of full and part-time jobs being lost.

Best Buy Canada, a subsidiary of Best Buy Co. Inc. that owns and operates both Best Buy and Future Shop stores, said in a statement Saturday that it will be closing 66 Future Shops for good, while 65 others will be converted into Best Buys.

The move will result in the loss of 500 full-time and 1,000 part-times jobs. The affected employees will receive severance, employee assistance and outplacement support, the company said.

Brandon Buchanan, a former Future Shop employee in Toronto who worked in the mobile audio section in 2012, said he was shocked to hear the stores are closing.

“That happened kind of suddenly, because a lot of the people I still know work here apparently, they showed up this morning and it was just locked out,” he said. “I had planned on maybe coming back and checking it out for a job again now that I’m back in the city but I guess that’s not happening.”

Stores in Toronto were locked and covered in paper with signs posted telling customers to shop at nearby Best Buy stores.

The company added there will now be a total of 192 Best Buys in Canada, including 56 Best Buy Mobile stores, and the converted stores will reopen after a one-week closure.

“It doesn’t surprise me actually because I know the same company owns both stores so at some point I expected them to merge into one,” said Guy McLoughlin, a frequent Future Shop customer.

“I would always go to both stores anyways to comparison shop because occasionally one would be cheaper than the other. I guess I lose that option now but otherwise I’m just thankful we’ve got something like that still in Canada because if they went I don’t know what would be left.”

The decision to close the Future Shop stores was made after the company said it reviewed its “real estate footprint,” adding a significant number of Future Shop and Best Buy stores are located next to each other, often in the same parking lot. Best Buy bought Future Shop in 2001.

“I don’t like the fact that every store that we have in Canada it always ends up going south and it’s not good for the economy, for us,” said Michelle Derue, who tried to buy headphones at a downtown Toronto store on Saturday.

“The poor workers that are in these places that actually do get sold out to American companies — it’s not a good thing for them, they’ve got families … you should get some sort of advanced warning when things like this happen because Future Shop is a big store so they should’ve known this way before just today.”

Best Buy Canada President and COO Ron Wilson said the stores will continue to have a “strong store presence” across Canada, adding the move will not change the fact that 80 per cent of customers are within a 15-minute drive to a store.

“Any decisions that impact our people are never taken lightly; our first priority is to support them through this change,” Wilson said in the statement. “I want to express my appreciation to the employees who are leaving, for their contributions to Best Buy Canada.”

The company also said that all Future Shop gift cards will be accepted at any Best Buy Canada location and online, while product orders, service appointments and warranties will continue to be honoured and Future Shop purchases to be returned or exchanged will also be accepted at any Best Buy.

Best Buy has been facing tough competition from discounters and online retailers, a victim of what’s known as “showrooming” — when people browse in stores and then buy the products more cheaply online from competitors such as Amazon.

Maureen Atkinson, a retail analyst with J.C. Williams Group, said the bigger impact will be on workers, many of whom will find themselves on the job market alongside former Target employees after the company closed its Canadian stores in January, affecting more than 17,000 employees.

“For the Canadian consumer there’s probably very little impact. There still is a lot of competition in the marketplace and people are buying these things at everything from Wal-Mart to high end speciality stores,” she said.

“I think it’s not great if you work in retail. There’s a lot of retail people out on the street given the Target closures too. So I think it’s going to be a challenge employment-wise.”

Future Shop explained its sudden change of course on social media today as Canadians reacted to the news:

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Future Shop stores closing across Canada

  1. Yep, with devalued money and higher city, property, utility, provincial and federal real and hidden taxes we have even less disposable income to spend on each others jobs.

    Hey, tax me more, devalue our money, we have less to spend on jobs. Only fleabaggers think jobs exist when people get taxed and devalued leaving conumers with higher prices and less goods consumed.

    Might want to ask who is next? Isn’t just Heinz, IBM, Bombardier, Energizer, Caterpillar, Kelloggs, and a long list of others cutting back or closing. In Canada we punish savers with negative value money, negative value returns for saving and investing, then whine as no one is investing in Ontariowe auto….priceless stupidity really. Just shows how economically stupid we are as a nation.

    The road of the worship of debt in blind faith is destroying Canada. And why I now invest more abroad than in Canada, 28% larger dividends sounds better than a (1.00/0.78) 28% value loss on currency.

    Media even, doesn’t have the decency to challenge the BS we get, our GDP might have grown 2.1%, but that’s in 28% devalued money, for a 2 year devaluation if Canada of 26%!!!!! Yep, we have depreciated 28% and CBSA taxes on healthy foods, essential clots is up 28%….but no one reports the truths.

    And idiot, delisional, self serving politicians like tax’em sheep some more Jim Prentise things more taxes are the answer. More taxes just means we will spend even less on each others jobs.

    So I rationally ask, who is next after Futureshop? As this tax’em slaves greed and devalued money for debt cycle is far from over.

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