Bose is closing its remaining 119 retail stores, blaming a shift to online shopping and increased competition.
Add audio technology veteran Bose to the mounting list of brick-and-mortar retailers closing stores as consumers shopping online sites and industry competition grows.
Long known for its stereo speakers Bose that “the dramatic shift in online shopping in specific markets” is behind plans to close all 119 of its stores across North America, Europe, Japan and Australia.”
It plans to keep open stores in other parts of the world, but did not say exactly how many.
Bose was founded in 1964 by MIT student Amar G. Bose. It didn’t open its first store in the U.S. until 1993 to give consumers an opportunity to try out products like Wave music systems and Lifestyle home theater systems before buying them. Most U.S. stores are in shopping centers and malls like the Fashion Outlets of Chicago in suburban Rosemont or Pioneer Place in downtown Portland, Oregon.
The decision to lay off store teams was a difficult one. It’s unclear how many people will lose their jobs.
Bose has added a number of products like noise-canceling headphones, wireless sport earbuds, portable speakers and smart speakers, which are increasingly purchased through e-commerce, including the Bose.com.
It also said that as it has become a larger multinational company, it tailors its purchasing channels toward each country and region.
Bose stereo speakers and headphones at one time were considered the cream of the sound game and were priced accordingly.
But over time the company has come up against a sophisticated mix of new players ranging from Harman and Sonos to the Beats by Dre, the market share leader, according to tracker NPD Group.
Beats by Dre was formed in 2006 by American rapper and entertainment entrepreneur Dr. Dre and Jimmy Iovine, co-founder of Interscope Records. Apple paid $3 billion in a stock and cash deal for Beats in 2014.