Fry’s Closes: 31 Computer and Electronics Stores Shut Down
Fry’s Electronics, a big box computer and electronics retail store chain, has shut down, according to the company’s website. Amid the coronavirus pandemic and intense competition from Amazon.com and BestBuy.com, Fry’s ceased regular operations and began the wind-down process on February 24, 2021, according to an online message from the company.
The Fry’s Electronics statement says:
“After nearly 36 years in business as the one-stop-shop and online resource for high-tech professionals across nine states and 31 stores, Fry’s Electronics, Inc. (“Fry’s” or “Company”), 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 will implement the shut down through an orderly wind down process that it believes will be in the best interests of the Company, its creditors, and other stakeholders.”
Fry’s was generally late to the e-commerce boom. The company started online sales in 2021 using the Outpost.com URL — a separate brand that confused customers. In stark contrast, Dell launched online sales in 1996, and Best Buy launched e-commerce in 1998. Fry’s ultimately shifted its online store to the Frys.com URL in 2006, but the company remained better known for its physical stores.
Fry’s Electronics: Retail Business Challenges
The San Jose, California-based company experienced business challenges even ahead of the COVID-19 pandemic. Signs of trouble ahead of during the pandemic include:
- September 2019: Some empty store shelves sparked rumors about business struggles, though Fry’s denied the concerns, according to The Mercury News.
- Late 2019: The Fry’s location in Duluth, Georgia closed without advanced notice, according to The Atlanta Journal-Constitution.
- February 25, 2020: Fry’s closed its Anaheim, California, location, VentureBeat reported.
- November 10, 2020: Fry’s closed its Campbell, California, location, The San Francisco Chronicle reported.
Best Buy: Record Online Sales
In stark contrast to Fry’s decline, Best Buy revenue was $16.9 billion in the company’s most recent Q4 — up from $15.2 billion in Q4 the previous year, Best Buy disclosed this morning. Online sales grew almost 90% to a record $6.7 billion and represented 43% of Best Buy’s domestic sales, the retailer said today. Still, Best Buy’s overall revenues were below Wall Street’s expectations.