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Fry's Electronics shutting down, blames Covid and changing retail market

 

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By Cromwell Schubarth  –  TechFlash Editor, Silicon Valley Business Journal 
7 hours ago
 

After 36 years in business, Fry's Electronics closed all of its remaining 31 stores in nine states overnight, including three in the Houston area, blaming a double whammy of changes in the retail business and the effects a year of operating during a pandemic.

The San Jose, California-based company said it will begin a wind-down process on Feb. 24.

"It is hoped that undertaking the wind-down through this orderly process will reduce costs, avoid additional liabilities, minimize the impact on our customers, vendors, landlords and associates, and maximize the value of the company’s assets for its creditors and other stakeholders," the company said on its website.

The local Fry's stores were at:

  • 10241 North Freeway (Interstate 45) in north Houston
  • 11565 Southwest Freeway (U.S. 59) in southwest Houston
  • 21300 Gulf Freeway (I-45) in Webster 

The company's stores, featuring outlandish themes like the Wild West or "Alice in Wonderland" in some locations, were a throwback where consumers and techies could find anything from the latest electronic device to the parts needed to make their own.

But Fry's failed to keep up with the times and missed out on the Covid-influenced boom in sales of laptops, home theater systems and appliances that gave rival Best Buy its best quarter in 25 years recently.

In recent years, Fry's adopted a consignment model in which it paid suppliers only after their goods were sold in the stores.

The company said it is reaching out to customers with repairs and consignment vendors to explain what the shutdown will mean for them and proposed next steps.

"Please understand if we are a bit slow to respond given the large volume of questions," Fry's said. "The company appreciates your patience and support through this process."

Fry's property on East Brokaw Road in San Jose, where the company's headquarters and a store are located, is slated to undergo a massive overhaul with plans for seven new office buildings there.

 

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I saw a rumor going around on Twitter last night about this, indicating that they planned to take their website offline at midnight. It was still up as of a couple hours past midnight but there's now a placeholder page there informing visitors of the wind-down:

Quote

After nearly 36 years in business as the one-stop-shop and online resource for high-tech professionals across nine states and 31 stores, Fry’s Electronics, Inc. (“Fry’s” or “Company”), has made the difficult decision to shut down its operations and close its business permanently as a result of changes in the retail industry and the challenges posed by the Covid-19 pandemic. The Company will implement the shut down through an orderly wind down process that it believes will be in the best interests of the Company, its creditors, and other stakeholders.

The Company ceased regular operations and began the wind-down process on February 24, 2021. It is hoped that undertaking the wind-down through this orderly process will reduce costs, avoid additional liabilities, minimize the impact on our customers, vendors, landlords and associates, and maximize the value of the Company’s assets for its creditors and other stakeholders.

The Company is in the process of reaching out to its customers with repairs and consignment vendors to help them understand what this will mean for them and the proposed next steps.

If you have questions, please contact us using the following email addresses:

  • For customers who have equipment currently being repaired, please email customerservice@frys.com, to arrange for return of your equipment.
  • For customers with items needing repair under a Performance Service Contract, please call (800) 811-1745.
  • For consignment vendors needing to pick up their consignment inventory at Fry’s locations, please email omnichannel@frys.com.

Please understand if we are a bit slow to respond given the large volume of questions. The Company appreciates your patience and support through this process.

Sincerely,

Fry’s Electronics

 

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