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Future Shop closure reflects changing retail landscape

Target is in the process of wrapping up its operations — it closed its Sudbury store March 30 — and retailers such as the women's clothing store Smart Set have also announced their closure.
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Sudbury's Future Shop closed March 28. Cambrian College professor Brian Vendramin said it's a sign of a soft retail market. File photo.
Target is in the process of wrapping up its operations — it closed its Sudbury store March 30 — and retailers such as the women's clothing store Smart Set have also announced their closure.

“The prediction is in the next five years, there will probably be 200 fewer shopping centres in North America,” Vendramin said.

“If you just think of our local shopping centre, you walk through and you see retailers that are working their hardest, but they're selling the same type of goods as the store two doors down.”

Online retailers such as Amazon are also “taking everybody's lunch,” he said. “I mean, if you want something in electronics, people are buying online.”

For its part, Sudbury's Future Shop is one of 66 stores across the country that have permanently closed.

Another 65 Future Shop locations will be temporarily closed for one week as they're transitioned into Best Buy stores (the brand is owned by the same company). However, Sudbury already has a Best Buy store.

“When you have two stores that are about two kilometres away, and you're looking at a shrinking market, then it just makes sense,” Vendramin said.

Best Buy Canada communications manager Elliot Chun said in an email to NorthernLife.ca he didn't have any information about how many employees work at the Future Shop, and whether or not they're losing their jobs.
However, the Greater Sudbury Chamber of Commerce said Future Shop had 60 employees in 2011 — the last record they have from the store. The store laid off 20 employees in Sudbury last year.

A press release from the company said that as a result of the consolidation, roughly 500 full-time and 1,000 part-time positions will be eliminated.

The affected employees will receive severance, employee assistance and outplacement support.

Vendramin said the Future Shop employees have some “very good skill sets” and he hopes they land on their feet quickly.

Some of them, however, may have to look at retraining or going into jobs very different from what they did at Future Shop.

“They're going to have to perhaps widen their breadth,” Vendramin. “They can't just find another retail job. They need to look at something else — another career.”