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Big CE Retailer Suddenly Quits, Blames COVID-19

A key competitor to Best Buy, Fry’s Electronics has overnight decided to suddenly quit the US consumer electronics market.

The announcement by the private Company has shocked suppliers, the business was established in 1990.

Based in San Jose, California, said it “has made the difficult decision to shut down its operations and close its business permanently as a result of changes in the retail industry and the challenges posed by the COVID-19 pandemic.”

The company — which for years had been battered by rising competition with Amazon before the coronavirus hit last year — had operated 31 stores across nine states, with many locations the size of a Walmart supercentre despite focusing only on electronics and appliances.

Rumours of Fry’s demise had been circulating at least since 2019 when it switched its suppliers to a consignment model and shoppers noticed increasingly bare shelves, according to reports at that time.

“It is hoped that undertaking the wind-down through this orderly process will reduce costs, avoid additional liabilities, minimize the impact on our customers, vendors, landlords and associates, and maximize the value of the company’s assets for its creditors and other stakeholders,” Fry’s said on its website.

Fry’s said it’s in the process of reaching out to both its vendors and customers who have still have merchandise in the stores to be sold or fixed.

“Please understand if we are a bit slow to respond given the large volume of questions. The company appreciates your patience and support through this process,” Fry’s said.

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