My last video about Fry’s Electronics was the Campbell store on Black Friday having enough crap on the shelves to look like a dollar store. Never mind that a dollar store would have a much better selection. There were three updates since then, two involving store closings.
- The Palo Alto store closed on Friday, December 27, 2019, as expected with the building lease expiring by February 2020.
- The San Francisco Chronicle had all but called B.S. on Fry’s business model going into the New Year.
- As reported by the Atlanta Journal-Constitution, the Duluth, Georgia, store closed after Thanksgiving without warning.
Is this the beginning of the end for Fry’s Electronics?
That the Palo Alto store closed at the end of December wasn’t a surprise. The announcement came in late August that the building, a former cannery built in 1918, and the surrounding neighborhood would become a mixed development. That same announcement prompted people to visit their local store and report the barren shelves on social media, starting the flood of speculation that the 35-year-old chain would close after the holidays.
Press coverage was mostly “nothing to see here, move along” for the last four months. That changed this week when the San Francisco Chronicle questioned the consignment model as management continued to deny that the company was going out of business. While the author had all but called B.S. for how management ran the company, the article didn’t offer any new insights regarding the chain’s future.
The Atlanta Journal-Constitution last night reported on a one-month-old blog post by Tomorrow’s News Today that the Duluth store closed after Thanksgiving without any warning. That store haven’t received new inventory since October and old inventory went to nearby stores prior to closing.
The blog post also noted that “[o]ther reports indicate the entire chain will close by February 2020.” The author might be referring to the Palo Alto store closure. I haven’t seen any reports that the chain itself will shut down soon. The Duluth store closing may represent how management will close stores in 2020.
Updated 09 January 2020 — Tweet from Fry’s Electronics: “Hi CD, we appreciate your interest in the company! We have no plans to close down our business as we transition to this new consignment model. As you noted, Palo Alto’s lease expired with no option to renew. For Duluth, we determined we were over stored in that market. ^Billy”