Potential customers arrive at Future Shop's former Nanaimo location to find signs declaring the store will reopen as Best Buy.

Potential customers arrive at Future Shop's former Nanaimo location to find signs declaring the store will reopen as Best Buy.

Nanaimo’s Future Shop reopening as Best Buy

NANAIMO – Best Buy terminates Future Shop's future by closing stores Canada-wide.

Best Buy made its second move in just over two years to consolidate its retail footprint in Canada when it shut down Future Shop store across Canada Saturday.

The surprise move by Best Buy, parent company of Future Shop, included the permanent closure of 66 Future Shops and the loss of 1,000 part-time and 500 full-time jobs across Canada.

The remaining 65 Future Shop stores, including the store at Country Club Centre in Nanaimo, will be converted to Best Buy stores and reopen on Saturday (April 4), giving the company 192 Canadian outlets. The Best Buy Canada website store locator also continues to list the Best Buy Mobile store, which opened in Woodgrove Centre after the company closed many of its Canadian retail outlets in January 2013, as an operating location.

The Future Shop Website has been shut down and all queries are being redirected to Best Buy’s website, which has information about existing orders, warranty issues and other Future Shop customer support information.

In a press release Saturday, the company said a number of its Future Shop and Best Buy stores were located adjacent to each other, sometimes in the same parking lot. Close proximity of the two brands was also cited when Canadian Best Buys were shut down in 2013. That round of closures left a large empty retail space in Best Buy’s former Nanaimo North Town Centre location that has yet to be filled.

The scheduled closing of Nanaimo’s Target outlet Wednesday (April 1) will leave the shopping centre with an additional and much larger vacant retail space and the loss of one of its anchor tenants. An estimated 130 local jobs were lost with the Target shutdown.

Even with the Future Shop closures, Ron Wilson, Best Buy president, said most customers will still be just minutes away from a Best Buy.

“Currently, 80 per cent of our customers are within a 15-minute drive to a store and this won’t change,” Wilson said in Saturday’s press release.

Wilson also said decisions impacting the company’s employees are never taken lightly and he expressed his appreciation for the contributions to the company made by employees who are losing their jobs.

Posters in the Nanaimo outlet’s entrance advertise that the store is hiring. Future Shop representatives did not respond to queries about the number of local jobs lost the potential for hiring former Nanaimo Future Shop employees before press time.

The closures mark the end of a Canadian retail brand. Future Shop was founded in 1982 in Vancouver by Hassan Khosrowshahi, and its first three stores were opened in B.C. the next year. The company expanded to the United States and across Canada and, by its 10th year, had become Canada’s largest technology and electronics store.

Best Buy purchased Future Shop for $580 million in 2001.