Future Shop Closes its Doors to 1,500 Employees
On Saturday, March 28, 2015, Future Shop employees went to work to have their quarterly meeting. Or so they thought. In actuality, employees learned that Future Shop had closed its doors forever. Employees were told that Friday was their last day of employment at Future Shop.
About 1,500 Future Shop jobs were lost across Canada – 500 full-time and 1,000 part-time. But not all Future Shop employees are out of luck.
Future Shop Consolidating with Best Buy
The same company has always owned Future Shop and Best Buy chains. Therefore, their consolidation isn’t all that unusual. The two chains operated differently to attract multiple types of shoppers, but ultimately, the revenue went into the same pockets.
Since 66 of the Future Shop locations are located right beside a Best Buy store, they will be closed for good. Some Future Shop employees will be converted into Best Buy employees when 65 of the Future Shop locations are re-branded as Best Buy and re-opened in a week’s time.
Here’s a full list of closed and re-opening locations.
On the contrary, Some Future Shop employees have been laid off and told to reapply if they want a job at Best Buy. – CBC News
Fighting for Fair Severance for Ex-Future Shop Employees
The 1,500 Future Shop employees who lost their jobs and qualify for severance were encouraged to sign their severance agreement in the same meeting where they discovered they were unemployed.
“A lot of these people understandably felt quite pressured to sign, felt that they had no choice that they’re losing their job, they’re offered some money they’d better sign it, not knowing in fact that they may be losing out on significant entitlements that they have. So a lot of these people, I say, may have signed under duress.” – Samfiru, CTV News
LawyerLocate.ca Inc. member, Lion Samfiru of Samfiru Tumarkin LLP, is assisting many Future Shop employees get a fair severance.
“Their severance offers were not in compliance with their legal entitlements. My concern is they’ve been offered significantly less than what I would assess them at; what the law would provide for them.” – Samfiru, Global News
Elliott Chun, a spokesperson for Best Buy said “Best Buy Canada fully complied with all Provincial Employment and Labour Standards to calculate severance for our employees.”- Yahoo
“That statement is quite misleading because their legal obligations under provincial statutes are only a portion, a small fraction, of their full obligations,” Samfiru, CTV News
In fact, it’s “only a minimum, and every employee has significantly greater severance rights under our common law,” – Samfiru, Yahoo.
Samfiru explained that there are 3 components to calculating a proper severance: “The longer you work, the older you are and the more senior position you have and the more severance is owed to you. When you apply that to an individual you get a significantly greater amount that what those provincial standards are.”
Samfiru says, “if Future Shop maintains its position,” regarding the severance initially offered to Future Shop employees, “we may have to consider legal action. The hope is that that doesn’t have to happen.” – CTV News
What Does the Future Have in Store?
Don Campbell, a senior analyst with the Real Estate Investment Network, said he “believes the closures taken as a whole show a sea change in retail similar to what already happened to the video industry.” – CBC News
Campbell projects 3 things that might happen to the emptying Canadian retail space of Target Canada, Future Shop, and other retailers that closed their doors recently:
- Two or three smaller tenants will replace the larger locations.
- New stores to shopping centres will either catch fire or they’ll quickly turnover without waiting two or three years.
- Pickup locations will be made available for purchases from online retailers as more consumers are buying online than in-store.
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