Ste. Dorothée’s foundering Future Shop shuttered

Nine-hundred Best Buy employees across Canada lose their livelihood

By Robert Frank

Future Shop employees unexpectedly found themselves out of a job, the morning of Jan. 31, after they arrived the Ste. Dorothée store where they worked to find security guards blocking the entrance.

The store is one of 15 that parent company Best Buy Canada summarily closed on the same day.

In a bureaucratically worded statement, the company announced that it had axed the outlets and let go the workers as part of its “optimization plan in the first phase of a transformational strategy.”

The company—which entered the Quebec market in 2005—has, since 2010, quadrupled the number of big box stores that it operates in Canada. 

Faced with withering competition from internet retailers, it indicated that it is abruptly shifting its marketing approach in order to open small storefronts where clients will be able to go to pick up goods that they have purchased online.

Last week’s closures will reduce Best Buy’s Canadian workforce by 900, reported The Financial Post.

Credit rating agencies Fitch and Standard & Poors downgraded the American parent company’s credit rating to junk bond status, Nov. 21, the day after it reported a quarterly loss.

Six months earlier saw the resignation of the company’s founder Richard Schulze who, in 1966, opened his first store in St. Paul, Minnesota with just four employees.

The Future Shop at the Forum in downtown Montreal also fell victim to the cuts. According to CTV news, its employees recently unionized and had expected to reach a labour agreement with their employer Feb. 1—the day after the shutdown.

Best Buy stores in Sherbrooke and Lachenaie, Quebec, were also shut down. In its statement, the company promised to give hiring priority to the approximately 900 employees across Canada who lost their jobs.

In contrast, retail giant Wal-Mart has been opening new stores and refurbishing existing outlets, in anticipation of the arrival in Canada next month of a new American retail chain: Target.

Target has announced plans to open stores in Laval along highways 13 and 15.

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