Went into my local Fry’s yesterday in Austin not thinking much of it until I walked into what had to have been a more than 50% empty store inventory wise. Sections of the store had nothing in it. I just could not believe the lack of product and the lack of staff. No one to help me on the floor. There were just a few people in the cashier area and the tech repair area. I asked what was going on and the cashier told me that the pandemic has significantly hit all import businesses hard. I told him that I had recently gone into a Best Buy and the store was well stocked. He then claimed he had been in a few Best Buy stores and they were rather bare...hmm...ok. He then said that Fry’s does not have any warehouses to back stock pile inventory where as other retailers like Best Buy do. I just did not respond because clearly either the employees are not acknowledging that there is a problem to protect their employment or management is rather convincing in their statements to employees. Even if Fry’s did have warehouses for stock piling, the warehouses can eventually become empty too if it really is a pandemic issue. I did some googling and found this thread and I would agree that the empty bare ness of all of Fry’s stores started well before the pandemic as many have reported over time. This just s—s because last time I was there the store looked fine and I do not remember seeing any bare shelves so maybe it was just before it started. I would add that the whole consignment thing is a bad sign that they have no capital to buy their inventory themselves which means the company is likely in a downward spiral. If I were a vendor I would not want to do business that way...much too risky. That is risk that the retailer is supposed to deal with, not the vendor in this type of business.
Frys Electronics stores are way too big and that makes it a definite challenge in figuring out how to make that much square footage profitable. I cannot even begin to imagine what their monthly utility bills typically look like; it has to be a small fortune just to heat/cool all that space and then the rent...oh man. They had ALL of the front doors both sets of the entry and exit doors wide open Best Buy at least has smaller more manageable store footprints to fill. Fry’s stores are still formatted to be like the 1980s store layout of a Toys R US but selling electronics primarily instead of toys and with much bigger square footage to fill. Sadly, they are likely going to have to go fully online but will have to figure out how to catch up on logistics since they were relying on their stores for this from what I understand.
I think it is just a matter of time before the inevitable finally happens and the company is at a point to where they cannot make up excuses or blame external factors anymore.