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02/24/2021

Fry’s Electronics goes out of business — abruptly

Marianne Wilson
Editor-in-Chief
Marianne Wilson profile picture

Fry’s Electronics has called it quits after being in business for nearly 36 years.

The family-owned electronics and technology chain confirmed in a statement on its website that it is going out of business and closing its 31 stores, saying that it 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.” Fry’s said it ceased regular operations and began the wind-down process on Feb. 24. Its website now only features the closing message.

“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,” Fry’s stated. 

Fry’s gained national retail attention for its massive stores, with each one having its own quirky and elaborate theme. The chain’s Houston location, for example, paid tribute to the history of Texas oil, while its Phoenix store was meant to resemble an Aztec temple. A location in Burbank, Calif., was inspired by 1950s sci-fi and had a UFO crashing through the façade. Candy shelves with wide assortments lined the checkout lanes of stores. 

While Fry’s cited the pandemic in its closing message, the retailer has been battered by heavy competition for years from Amazon, Newegg and other online players as well as the likes of Walmart, Target and Best Buy. In 2019, it moved its suppliers to a consignment model and shoppers noticed increasingly bare shelves, according to various reports. 

The retailer said it 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.”