Fry’s Electronics, go-to for high tech pros, closes forever

Quirky California-based retailer, which had 31 locations in 9 states, cited Covid challenges


Fry’s Electronics, a quirky chain with character, closed its doors forever.

The San Jose-based home electronics retailer permanently shuttered all 31 stores in nine states on Wednesday, it announced on its website. The San Francisco Chronicle first reported the story.

The self-described one-stop-shop for high tech professionals cited “changes in the retail industry and the challenges posed by the Covid-19 pandemic” as the reason for its demise.

But for years the company had been steadily losing business to online retail giants like Amazon and larger chains like Best Buy.

Fry’s had 34 stores at its peak in 2019, half of them in California. It closed four stores between December 2019 and November 2020, including its Anaheim location last March.

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Besides California, the company most recently had outlets in Arizona, Georgia, Illinois, Indiana, Nevada, Oregon, Texas and Washington, the Chronicle reported.

The chain was known for the unique and elaborate themes of each of its stores. in California, its Woodland Hills location was themed after “Alice in Wonderland” and its Burbank store after 1950s-era science fiction.

The pandemic and Covid-imposed closures have been disastrous for brick-and-mortar retailers, many of them already struggling to retain business in the age of online everything.

JCPenney, Neiman Marcus, GNC, and Acena Retail Group are among the many businesses that declared bankruptcy in the last year. Simon Property Group, the largest shopping mall operator in the country, saw net income drop 17 percent year-over-year in its most recent earnings report.

On the opposite end, Amazon had a banner year. The ecommerce behemoth reported net income had more than doubled in the fourth quarter, and the company grew its fulfillment centers footprint by 50 percent.

[SFC] — Dennis Lynch