Best Buy cuts 1,500 jobs through closure of 66 Future Shop stores in Canada

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Best Buy is cutting about 500 full-time and 1,000 part-time jobs as its brings an end to its Future Shop brand in Canada, shuttering half its stores and renaming the rest.

In an announcement on Saturday, the Richfield-based company said it would be closing 66 Future Shops north of the border, effective today, while the other 65 will be closed for a week as they are rebranded under the Best Buy brand.

"As a result of this consolidation, approximately 500 full-time and 1,000 part-time positions will be eliminated," the announcement said. "The affected employees will receive severance, employee assistance and outplacement support."

The change will mean Best Buy has 192 locations across Canada, of which 136 are large-format stores and 56 are Best Buy Mobile stores.

The Star Tribune reports that the electronics giant bought the Future Shop chain when it entered Canada in 2001, acquiring 88 stores at the time and expanding its presence to about 250 locations, through a mixture of Future Shop and Best Buy branded outlets.

"For more than a decade, having two brands and even two stores minutes apart actually worked. The market was growing, and it was all about having more stores," Best Buy spokesman Matt Furman told the Wall Street Journal. "Now, the market is not growing and consumers are shopping across physical stores and online. So what we need now is fewer, but better stores and a single brand we can invest in."

Customers and employees were shocked by the sudden closures on Saturday, with one worker telling CBC News: "We were called into a meeting [at 7 a.m.]. They did offer you choices ... but it was the package deal I took, so that's it."

The move is expected to result in restructuring charges of $280 million.

The company said that the conditions that prompted the store closures in Canada are not being replicated in its U.S. market.

Best Buy has undergone a transformation in recent years as it repositions itself in the wake of increased pressure on electronics retailers. In 2013 it laid off 400 workers at its Richfield headquarters, the Pioneer Press notes.

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