Fry’s Electronics, the decade-old supermarket chain with locations in nine US states, appears to have been wound up. Bay Area TV station KRON-4 was the first press contact to confirm the news late on Tuesday, saying that Fry̵
The rumors began to fly on Tuesday in the form of anecdotes from alleged Frys employees, who all reported that they were summed up earlier in the day with zero notice. An anonymous report posted on The Layoff claimed that every remaining Frys store in the US “closed permanently tomorrow”, and that the mood was echoed hours later in a Fry-related Reddit community. The Reddit post included the claim that a store employee was instructed to transport the remaining goods back to suppliers during the last day at work.
Sacramento freelance journalist Matthew Keys followed these posts by quoting an unnamed source – someone who had worked at Fry until “this week” – who claimed that the electronics chain would give a formal announcement “this week” to close all stores and close. any remaining assets. When the wave of rumors exploded, the official Frys website started showing error messages – but some of its sub-content, especially many years old press releases, was still active through Frys.com subdomains. As Tuesday progressed, Frys retail network flashed in and out of normal service, even allowing customers to purchase products after the KRON-4 report was published.
Spiders of savings
For years, Fry’s Electronics was America’s largest physical retailer dedicated to just about every computing and electronic device imaginable, especially individual computer components. As the chain expanded to more stores across the United States, especially when it came to taking over more disused Incredible Universe locations, Fry’s rode its own boom of personal computing. If you built your own PC for the last two decades and lived within driving distance of a Fry’s, that store was probably where you started looking for motherboards, optical disk drives, RAM at all speeds and slots and spindles of no less than 200 CD-Rs.
In addition, the retailer was known to be the exclusive retail partner for some weird goods, especially the fateful Pono Player from the famous musician Neil Young.
Throughout the 00s, the cash flow over the privately owned Frys chain was apparently solid enough to survive a devastating internal meltdown: the theft of over $ 65 million from the company’s coffers by the then vice president.
But big box retailers have long struggled in an internet shopping age, and the California-centric Fry had not looked particularly strong when the pandemic slashed the appetite left for personal shopping. Just before the pandemic hit the world, the Anaheim, CA chain closed, followed by the closure of the Campbell, CA store in November.
By 2020, the chain had already established a transition to a sales signal, which meant not paying producers in advance for goods before they were put on store shelves. This practice has worked for some chains with a decade-long lead on the exercise, especially Wal-Mart. But in the case of Frys, this transition was met by electronics manufacturers who in the internet-rich time of 2019 had far less incentive to put their goods unpaid on store shelves. (This will also reduce the decommissioned company’s potential to wind up, as commodity-based goods simply have to be returned to original manufacturers – which may have been the final duty of the remaining employees this week.)
Therefore, Fry’s locations began to gain a notorious reputation for barren shop shelves. Now apparently their floors will also be barren. The company has not yet formally acknowledged layoffs or store closures on any of its social media channels – which go so far as deleting its Facebook account and “locking” its Twitter profile – and at press time, the site has not yet made announcements about the company’s future.