‘It’s still difficult’: Why Bose is closing its retail stores in Australia
Electronics manufacturer Bose, best known among music lovers for its smart speakers, earbuds, and noise-cancelling headphones, is shutting down its 19 Australian bricks-and-mortar stores.
It’s part of a wider closure strategy – to come into effect in the next few months – which will also affect 119 stores across North America, Europe and Japan.
The company has blamed the move on a “dramatic shift to online shopping”, including its own online retail store.
According to its VP of global sales Colette Burke, it began introducing stores in 1993 to give people a way to experience, test, and talk to us about multi-component, CD and DVD-based home entertainment systems.
“At the time it was a radical idea, but we focused on what our customers needed, and where they needed it — 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.”
About 130 stores will stay open in Greater China and the United Arab Emirates, along with a few outlets in India, Southeast Asia and South Korea.
Bose products will remain in the physical retail via department stores as JB Hi Fi, Myer and David Jones.
The company employees affected but said it will offer outplacement assistance and severance.
Some music industry analysists are now exploring the impact, if any, the closures will have on the growth of the all-important smark speaker market.
According to the 2019 Australia Smart Speaker Consumer Adoption Report by Voicebot and digital agency FIRST, the Australian smart speaker market is dominated by two brands – Google Home with 68% and Amazon Echo well behind at 14%.
Of part-Indian background, the late founder Amar Bose was a long time professor at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology.
In 1956, disappointed by the failure of high-end stereo speaker systems to reproduce live performance, he began to extensively research on acoustics and from the 1960s began to manufacture products.
In a 2004 interview in Popular Science magazine, he said: “I would have been fired a hundred times at a company run by MBAs.
“But I never went into business to make money. I went into business so that I could do interesting things that hadn’t been done before.”