Sony announced today that it is shuttering 20 of its 31 retail stores located throughout the States. The 11 remaining stores are located near major markets.
This shouldn’t come as much of a surprise. As the company’s press release states, this move is designed to place Sony in a more competitive stance. The Sony of today is in flux. It’s offloading unprofitable divisions left and right in an attempt to right the capsizing ship and sold off its PC business just last month. The company has eliminated over 12,000 positions over the last two years. These store closings will kill an additional 5,000 jobs.
Sony is clearly looking for any way to reduce its liabilities and size. Even though it’s had retail stores for more than a decade, the stores never took off despite a rebranding in 2011. They used to be called Sony Style stores and were awash in Sony products. They were lifestyle stores, designed to showcase product rather than sell it.
But while Sony’s retail strategy was influx in 2010 and 2011, Apple’s stores were taking off. Sony later cloned Apple stores and dropped the word Style from the name. But it didn’t work.
Retail is hard. Ask Circuit City, Gateway and small town computer shops. To be successful it requires equal parts luck and skill. Sony clearly doesn’t have either.