Fry’s Electronics surprised everybody by abruptly closing all 31 of their retail locations after 36 years with no warning. Well, no official warning.
As of Feb. 24, the stores, website, and social media accounts are closed, and the company says they were doomed by changing retail shopping habits and complications from the Covid-19 pandemic.
If you’re excited about some big liquidation sales stemming from the closure — don’t be.
Here’s what you need to know:
Fry’s doesn’t appear to be having any closing sales.
Social media has plenty of evidence that since 2019, Fry’s locations across the country had bare shelves.
And in the run-up to their final shutdown, Fry’s eliminated all full-time positions, switched to a consignment sales model (meaning they would pay for product after it was sold), and saw unpaid bills pile up.
Bare shelves + a consignment model = no liquidation sales.
Customers can still have their products repaired.
Stores aren’t open — even for customers who had left their electronics at a store for repair.
Fry’s says repair customers can arrange to pick up their items by sending an email to email@example.com. (There’s no telling whether the repairs will be finished, nor how long customers have to schedule a pickup.)
For anyone who needs a repair through their product warranty, Fry’s has a different email address for you to use: firstname.lastname@example.org.
In both cases, Fry’s warns that response times will be “slow” due to the large number of inquiries.
The grocery stores aren’t affected — because they’re not the same company.
Although they share the same name, Fry’s grocery stores aren’t affiliated with the electronics store.
Fry’s Grocery was started by the same family that founded the electronics store, but they sold the chain in 1972 (and used the proceeds to start the electronics store).
Kroger now owns the grocery store chain.
Fry’s rival Best Buy is also closing a bunch of stores.
Best Buy had a record holiday season, but they’re closing stores in 2021. About 450 store leases are coming up for renewal over the next three years, and Best Buy says some of those will close.
Company execs say that 20 large-format stores closed over the last two years, and even more of those will close in 2021. Best Buy is adjusting to changing behavior with regard to in-store shopping, opting for smaller stores with an emphasis on pickup.