Will Santa Claus Save Fry’s Electronics on Black Friday?

We are one week away from Black Friday. Is Fry’s Electronics ready for the big holiday season? Are the shelves stocked with new inventory? Are the Black Friday ads announcing great deals? Are the parking lots full of cars? Oh, hell no. In fact, those are the wrong questions. Based on recent reports this week, a better question would be: Will Santa Claus save Fry’s Electronics on Black Friday?

If you’ve been paying attention to Fry’s Electronics in recent months, nothing has changed. The parking lots are empty. The shelves barren. The customers are few. And the remaining salesclerks are less helpful as always.

Tweak Town reported that Fry’s Electronics ads for November are featuring older tech, such as DDR2 and DDR3 memory, at significant discounts.That’s fine if you have an older computer system to upgrade.

As for current tech, let’s look at the Patriot Viper 4 Blackout Series DDR4 memory kit. Fry’s advertised that memory kit for $55 USD after a $3 USD in-store discount and a $25 USD mail-in rebate. Amazon has the same memory kit for $60 USD without a rebate.

These are not the Black Friday ads that will have people lining up at the doors, stampeding inside and rioting at the end caps at 5:00 AM.

I love this quote from Tweak Town.

One store manager commented to us that they are clearing out the existing product to make room for new vendors. We specifically asked what vendor was replacing copies of Microsoft Windows, which at that point, the manager refused to make any additional comments.

Finding an alternative vendor for Microsoft Windows might be a tough one.

Fry’s Electronics recently asked all their vendors to provide inventory on a consignment basis. Consignment is where the vendors take all the risk by providing inventory, getting paid only when inventory is sold, and unsold inventory can be return at any time. According to Tweak Town, some vendors are removing unsold products from some of the stores. Fry’s now has even less inventory to sell than before.

POC Network explains why Fry’s is switching to a consignment basis. Both Best Buy and Walmart grew significantly because their business model has always been by consignment. After 35 years of buying inventory and taking all the risks, Fry’s is trying to shift all the risks to the vendors. With empty parking lots and no customers, vendors are unwilling to provide new inventory to Fry’s.

If Santa Claus doesn’t save Fry’s Electronics on Black Friday, nothing else will this holiday season.

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