Future Shop customers say they're surprised and disappointed the tech chain is closing 66 stores across the country effective immediately. 

"We are really shocked about what happened to Future Shop," said Wanda Farmer in front of the shuttered Granville Street store in Vancouver.

Wanda Farmer Future Shop Shopper

Wanda Farmer and her husband returned to a Future Shop in Vancouver to purchase a fridge they looked at the day before, only to find the outlet closed. (CBC)

Farmer and her husband were just in the store Friday shopping for a new refrigerator and found what they wanted, but decided to sleep on the decision. When they came back today to make the purchase, they were greeted by a closed sign.

"We found a really nice, very polite saleswoman and...she said nothing," said Farmer. "I think if she knew it, she would tell us. The [staff] should know to inform the customers so we don't have this surprise and disappointment."

Customer Cori Maedel arrived at the store this morning only to find it closed. She says she and her husband purchased a sound system and a television worth $5,000 but hadn't yet picked it up.

Mary Charelson Market Strategist Future Shop

Vancouver marketing analyst Mary Charleson says Future Shop closures make sense as consumers turn to on-line shopping. (CBC)

"I'm a business owner so I understand how things happen and I understand that if you're going to terminate, this is just part of the process," she said. "

"As a consumer I just want to know that my stuff is OK. If I had a number to call — here's what you need to know to make sure everything's OK — then I'll give them the time they need to get settled, but the issue I have is that we didn't have any notice as a consumer."

Customers are being told their purchases will be honoured.

Analysts say closures make sense

Sixty-five Future Shops across Canada will be closed for a week while they are converted to Best Buy stores. Best Buy Canada Ltd. is Future Shop's parent company.

Future Shop employee locks the door

Future Shop workers shut down a store at Broadway and Fir St. in Vancouver. (CBC)

"I think it does make business sense. There's a consolidation in retail in general but with a lot of things going on on-line," said Mary Charleson, a marketing strategist in Vancouver.

"I think what the consumers are going to see at the end is a bunch of Best Buys that will serve their needs and hopefully they'll be able to use that warehousing component for more people going on-line."

The company said approximately 500 full-time and 1,000 part-time positions would be eliminated as a result of the consolidation.

The first Future Shop store opened in Vancouver in 1982. By 1990, it had become the largest retailer of consumer electronics in the country.

In 2001, Future Shop was purchased by Best Buy for $580 million.

Future Shop stores converting to Best Buy

B.C. has 22 Future Shop stores. The company says 13 will be converting to Best Buy and nine will be closing.

When the changeover is complete, there will be 22 Best Buy stores and 11 Best Buy Mobile stores serving B.C.

Vancouver

  • Robson and Granville – 798 Granville Street
  • West Vancouver Park Royal – Park Royal South
  • Scott Road – 12048 80th Avenue
  • South Surrey – 2267 –  160th  Street
  • Chilliwack – 45805 Luckakuck Way

 
Interior

  • Vernon – 5600 24 Street
  • Kamloops – 1320 West Trans-Canada Hwy

 
Northern BC

  • Prince George – 3900 Walls Avenue

 
Vancouver Island

  • Victoria – 3450 Uptown Boulevard
  • Nanaimo – 3200 Island Hwy North
  • Langford – 779 McCallum Drive
  • Cowichan – 2900 Drinkwater Road
  • Courtenay – 3245 Cliffe Avenue 

 Future Shop stores closing

  • Broadway – 1740 West Broadway
  • Richmond Lansdowne – 5300 No. 3 Road
  • North Vancouver – 1076 Marine Drive
  • Langley –20150 Langley Byplass
  • Bridgeport – 2780 Sweden Way
  • Abbotsford – 32700 South Fraser Way
  • Kelowna – 1876 Cooper Road
  • Surrey – 10153 King George Highway  (closing and converting)
  • Coquitlam – 2929 Barnet Hwy (closing and converting)

with files from the CBC's Jeff Harrington