Premium audio products manufacturer Bose will close its entire retail footprint in North America, Europe, Japan, and Australia over the next few months, according to a media report.
The Massachusetts-based company attributed a "dramatic shift to online shopping" as the main reason for this step. It will close nearly 119 stores, making hundreds of its employees redundant, The Verge, an American technology media company, reported on Thursday.
“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,” Colette Burke, vice president of global sales at Bose, told the publication in an email interview.
“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,” she added.
Even after closing these stores, the privately-held firm will have retail locations spread across the world – more than 130 stores across Greater China, the UAE, India and South Korea.
The first Bose store opened in the US in 1993. It was originally designed for CD and DVD-based home entertainment systems, the company said.
Now, its leading products include built-in car audio systems, noise-cancelling headphones and augmented reality-enabled wearable products. Besides selling products at its physical stores, the company also uses third-party e-commerce platforms such as Amazon and its own website.
The company did not reveal the exact number of employees who will lose jobs, but said it will be offering outplacement assistance and severance to affected employees.
“It’s still difficult, because the decision impacts some of our amazing store teams who make us proud every day,” said Ms Burke.
“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,” she said.