"We are really shocked about what happened to Future Shop," said Wanda Farmer in front of the shuttered Granville Street store in Vancouver.
Farmer and her husband were just in the store Friday shopping for a new refrigerator and found what they wanted, but decided to sleep on the decision. When they came back today to make the purchase, they were greeted by a closed sign.
"We found a really nice, very polite saleswoman and...she said nothing," said Farmer. "I think if she knew it, she would tell us. The [staff] should know to inform the customers so we don't have this surprise and disappointment."
Customer Cori Maedel arrived at the store this morning only to find it closed. She says she and her husband purchased a sound system and a television worth $5,000 but hadn't yet picked it up.
"I'm a business owner so I understand how things happen and I understand that if you're going to terminate, this is just part of the process," she said. "
"As a consumer I just want to know that my stuff is OK. If I had a number to call — here's what you need to know to make sure everything's OK — then I'll give them the time they need to get settled, but the issue I have is that we didn't have any notice as a consumer."
Customers are being told their purchases will be honoured.
Analysts say closures make sense
Sixty-five Future Shops will be closed for a week while they are converted to Best Buy stores. Best Buy Canada Ltd. is Future Shop's parent company.
"I think it does make business sense. There's a consolidation in retail in general but with a lot of things going on on-line," said Mary Charleson, a marketing strategist in Vancouver.
"I think what the consumers are going to see at the end is a bunch of Best Buys that will serve their needs and hopefully they'll be able to use that warehousing component for more people going on-line."
The company said approximately 500 full-time and 1,000 part-time positions would be eliminated as a result of the consolidation.
The first Future Shop store opened in Vancouver in 1982. By 1990, it had become the largest retailer of consumer electronics in the country.
In 2001, Future Shop was purchased by Best Buy for $580 million.