When it comes to audio equipment, Bose is easily one of the world’s most prominent brands out there. In order to remain profitable in a world of digitization, Bose has announced plans to shift its focus towards online retail. To put that into action, Bose is closing 119 retail stores globally, including all physical stores in North America, Europe, Japan and Australia.

While shocking, the decision comes as a result of recent trends of increased sales via e-commerce channels such as Bose.com. Going forward, distribution channels will be “tailored for a country or region” instead. This is in order to enhance the company’s status as a multi-national company. With that, the dramatic move will leave around 130 retail stores across the globe. Most will be located in Greater China and the United Arab Emirates, alongside India, Southeast Asia, and South Korea.

Bose opened its first physical retail store in 1993. Currently, stores are commonly located in many major shopping centers. According to the Corporation’s VP of Global Sales Colette Burke, “Originally, our retail stores gave people a way to experience, test, and talk to us about multi-component, CD and DVD-based home entertainment systems. At the time, it was a radical idea. But we focused on what our customers needed, and where they needed it – and we’re doing the same thing now.”

Read the full press statement below.

Bose Corporation Press Statement

Given the dramatic shift to online shopping in specific markets, Bose plans to close its remaining 119 retail stores across North America, Europe, Japan and Australia over the next several months. In other parts of the world, Bose stores will remain open, including approximately 130 stores located in Greater China and the United Arab Emirates; and additional stores in India, Southeast Asia, and South Korea.

In 1993, Bose opened its first store in the United States to provide personal, private demonstrations for Wave music systems and Lifestyle home theater systems. As smartphones changed the industry, the company’s focus turned to mobile, Bluetooth, and Wi-Fi solutions. Today, Bose noise-cancelling headphones, truly wireless sport earbuds, portable speakers, and smart speakers are increasingly purchased through e-commerce, including Bose.com; and Bose is a larger multi-national company, with a localized mix of channels tailored for a country or region.

“Originally, our retail stores gave people a way to experience, test, and talk to us about multi-component, CD and DVD-based home entertainment systems,” said Colette Burke, vice president of Global Sales, Bose Corporation. “At the time, it was a radical idea. But we focused on what our customers needed, and where they needed it — and we’re doing the same thing now. It’s still difficult, because the decision impacts some of our amazing store teams who make us proud every day. They take care of every person who walks through our doors — whether that’s helping with a problem, giving expert advice, or just letting someone take a break and listen to great music. Over the years, they’ve set the standard for customer service. And everyone at Bose is grateful.”

Bose will be offering outplacement assistance and severance to affected employees. Additional details, including the number of employees affected, will remain private.

h/t: Billboard