Business

Bose to Shutter 119 Stores Worldwide Due to 'Dramatic Shift to Online Shopping'

Bose
Budrul Chukrut/SOPA Images/LightRocket via Getty Images

A Bose storefront in Hong Kong. 

130 stores will remain open in markets including China and the United Arab Emirates.

Audio equipment manufacturer Bose is closing 119 retail stores globally over the next several months, including all brick and mortar shops in North America, Europe, Japan and Australia, Billboard has confirmed. 

In a statement provided to Billboard, the company cited a “dramatic shift to online shopping” as the cause of the mass shuttering. “Today, Bose noise-cancelling headphones, truly wireless sport earbuds, portable speakers, and smart speakers are increasingly purchased through e-commerce, including Bose.com,” it continued.

Roughly 130 stores will remain open in Greater China and the United Arab Emirates, along with a few additional stores in India, Southeast Asia, and South Korea.

Colette Burke, Bose’s vp of global sales, says that when the company’s first U.S. store opened in 1993, its retail outlets provided customers with “personal, private demonstrations for Wave music systems and Lifestyle home theater systems,” claiming it was a “radical idea” at the time.

“We focused on what our customers needed, and where they needed it -- and we’re doing the same thing now,” said Burke in a statement. “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 noted it will be offering outplacement assistance and severance to affected employees, though it wouldn’t reveal how many workers would be losing their jobs.

Read the full statement below.

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 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.