MediaPlayNews reports that "Fry’s Electronics, the big-box consumer electronics chain that for years was known for its large and eclectic Blu-ray Disc and DVD selection, on Feb. 24 announced it is closing all 31 of its stores.
"The chain, which for at least two years has suffered inventory problems, with store shelves largely empty, made the announcement on its website."
The closure ends a run that started with a single California store that opened in 1985 "as an outgrowth of the Fry’s Supermarkets chain, which founder Charles Fry had sold in 1972 to Dillons. Years later, his three sons banded together to launch a consumer electronics retail operation, initially focused on computer hardware and software.
"At its peak, the chain numbered 34 stores and had branched out into a wide range of consumer electronics, including appliances and cameras. In the early 2000s Fry’s became a leading retailer of DVDs and then Blu-ray Discs, going deep into niche categories such as anime that the chain’s buyers believed would appeal to the stores’ core techie shoppers."
In other retailing news, USA Today reports that "after closing nearly 250 stores in 2020, Victoria’s Secret plans to permanently close between 30 to 50 more U.S. locations this year, its parent company L Brands announced Wednesday." The story notes that L Brands is going ahead with its plans to spin off Victoria's Secret as a separate company.
It isn't all bad news for L Brands - it also announced that it "plans to open 49 new Bath & Body Works stores in the U.S. and one in Canada."
And, Best Life reports that regional department store chain Belk "has officially filed for Chapter 11 bankruptcy in an effort to secure a future for the nation's largest privately-owned department store … The company's bankruptcy plan, which was filed in a Houston courtroom on Feb. 23, would relieve Belk of $450 million worth of debt and create an infusion of capital for the business, The Charlotte Observer reports. It would also see the current owners, New York City-based private equity firm Sycamore Partners, pass off large stakes of the company to lenders while still retaining control over affairs."
The story notes that "the bankruptcy filing for the 133-year-old retailer comes about half a decade after the founding Belk family sold the company to its current owners for $3 billion. The years since have seen the Charlotte-based store grapple with all-too-familiar problems faced by others in the industry, as dwindling foot traffic at shopping malls and surging online sales created a cash crunch for the company—all just before the novel coronavirus shuttered stores nationwide."