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Fry's Electronics is dying

Old 08-01-19, 12:14 AM
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Fry's Electronics is dying

It's easy to have mixed feelings about this place, as they are known to treat their employees like crap and do shady things like put defective returns right back on the shelf, but aside from Tower they've had the best selection of DVDs ever since the format started (it was the first place I ever saw a full rack of them for sale) and always priced below list to boot. They've also had just about every kind of cable or adaptor you would ever need.

But even their DVD/Blu-Ray section wasn't immune from the downsizing that's been going on in retail, and it's been extending to the rest of the store since then. It was even worse than I thought when I went a few weeks ago and found MANY shelves in all sections of the store empty- didn't see a single new or recent release movie in sight, and couldn't even find a simple pair of audio cables. My friends on Facebook have been saying the other nearby stores have been the same, and looking around online I've found that they've reduced employees' hours to practically nothing and given some people pay cuts. Now their suppliers are cutting them off because they can't pay their bills, and they won't be getting any customers with no merchandise.

I always felt lucky to live near Fry's as I recall years ago others on this forum saying that they often made trips several hours long just to shop at them. A while ago we even got a SECOND store in the area (a bit after Tower died, and it still had a huge media selection) but that one is also suffering now- their movie section is only one measly aisle, and I also saw about half of their darkened (for better viewing) TV area empty.

Seems the people running Fry's always had some questionable business practices and it's finally catching up with them. But there's no other stores comparable in size or selection to what they once were- what will move into their huge stores if they end up closing? People say they aren't needed now because you can order everything online, but that involves waiting- there's been times when things have broken and I've needed an obscure part right away that I was able to find there, being able to fix it that day instead of waiting for the parts to arrive. Looking around online is never the same as perusing a huge store either.

It'll take a miracle to save them now, as they simply can't keep operating with so little inventory to sell. The way they do things, the first we'll hear of their official demise is when employees show up for work one morning and find the doors locked. They won't even have enough stuff to hold a proper going out of business sale.
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Old 08-01-19, 08:53 AM
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Re: Fry's Electronics is dying

It was a matter of time when Frys finally fell.

Over the past 20+ years, it seemed to be all too common that computer service + parts retailers went out of business after awhile, both large and small.

Most likely it was due to the "perishables-like" commodity nature of computer parts and other short-live electronics. If I had to guess, profit margins were probably razor thin too.
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Old 08-01-19, 04:34 PM
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Re: Fry's Electronics is dying

The one near me used to have a massive DVD/Blu section, also video games and CDs. I went in a few weeks ago and the DVDs and Blus are now a tiny section over by the tiny CD and tiny videogame section.

That old area of the store is now toys and home goods, lots of "As seen on TV" stuff too. They're trying to appeal to a wider variety of people, but it's just stuff that every other store has too.

Also, their smartphone section is pathetic. That was really surprising.


And their practice of checking receipts always seemed questionable to me. The registers are right there by the door.
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Old 08-01-19, 05:04 PM
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Re: Fry's Electronics is dying

Their return policy is terrible as well. I haven't been to the store in ages even though it's literally right next door to my favorite movie theater that I go to on a nearly weekly basis. It used to be fun and there were good deals to be found. There just isn't a point any more.
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Old 08-01-19, 05:14 PM
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Re: Fry's Electronics is dying

Stores get paid to carry those "As Seen on TV" products- that's why Blockbuster had them the last years they were open. The main reason for pathetic selections now though is that vendors aren't shipping them any more product because they can't pay for it. I've heard Apple, LG and Sony have cut them off, leaving them with lots of cheap off-brand junk. I looked up some recent movies on their site and they all showed as "Sold Out" in store stock and "Coming Soon" for order, meaning that they never got any in to begin with. I remember when they'd stock literally every title that came out, and the big releases had tons of extra copies in their shipping cartons in the understock area. Now- nothing.

Our store's exit is a ways from the registers so they always check receipts there, of course lots of people hate that but I figure if I haven't stolen anything I have nothing to hide. Now they don't have anything worth stealing. Lots of people were turned off by the general attitude there, but I never expected any sort of service except for them to put stuff on the shelves and take my money. With Best Buy cutting its media stock, Radio Shack cutting down its electronics parts selection and now completely gone, and losing other stores, this was the last thing we needed. Somehow I didn't realize how much trouble they were in until recently, but my shopping outings continue to get shorter and less frequent.

(Added- I returned a few things there with no problems, in fact in most instances they could have easily refused as I was auditioning equipment at home and returning the ones that didn't make the cut, though the lack of adequate store displays is partly to blame for that. I exchanged my first DVD recorder there that seemed to have problems that turned out to be related to the video cables I was using, they likely just put that one back out for sale anyways.)
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Old 08-01-19, 05:24 PM
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Re: Fry's Electronics is dying

The physical media section at the Austin is still about 5 aisles or so big, but itís been that way for a few years now. They still have a Criterion section, and the 4K stuff is pretty big. So is the OP saying itís dying based on that for the most part? I still see a ton of products from Sony and the likes, so Iím not sure if something has changed recently. I donít really keep tabs on the status of then company, but are their stores starting to close?
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Old 08-01-19, 05:45 PM
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Re: Fry's Electronics is dying

I looked a bit at the Austin store when I was there a few months ago (also went to Waterloo Records, wish we had something like that in Sacramento- got a few import Blu-Rays there). The real trouble seems to have started in the past month or so though. Around here I thought it was just the media section shrinking since that's happening everywhere else, but looking through almost the entire store it seems all sections are affected- and I've heard that the Texas stores aren't faring well either. I've never heard of Fry's closing a store but seems like a few will have to soon if they don't go under completely. Some are saying they'll likely do something after Black Friday or New Year's but they don't even have enough merchandise to last that long.
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Old 08-01-19, 11:06 PM
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Re: Fry's Electronics is dying

I loved to hit the San Diego store, back in the day. Huge video section. Before it was bought by Fry's it was one of the few Incredible Universe stores.
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Old 08-02-19, 11:00 PM
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Re: Fry's Electronics is dying

I've never shopped there. Seems like I won't miss the stores.

Good riddance if it's true they put back on the shelf defective returns.
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Old 08-03-19, 01:21 PM
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Re: Fry's Electronics is dying

Originally Posted by Alan Smithee View Post
I looked a bit at the Austin store when I was there a few months ago (also went to Waterloo Records, wish we had something like that in Sacramento- got a few import Blu-Rays there). The real trouble seems to have started in the past month or so though. Around here I thought it was just the media section shrinking since that's happening everywhere else, but looking through almost the entire store it seems all sections are affected- and I've heard that the Texas stores aren't faring well either. I've never heard of Fry's closing a store but seems like a few will have to soon if they don't go under completely. Some are saying they'll likely do something after Black Friday or New Year's but they don't even have enough merchandise to last that long.
Iíd be interested in knowing where you read this from. Seems that Fryís doesnít really focus too much on media, just like Best Buy. And based on their ads, they hardly do any real discounts on media. The real sales is in their computer parts, appliances, and all other electronics and TVís.
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Old 08-03-19, 06:22 PM
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Re: Fry's Electronics is dying

Do they sell refurbished or used electronics with those low prices?
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Old 08-03-19, 06:30 PM
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Re: Fry's Electronics is dying

Zip. I’ve bought a lot from them over the years. Actually I have seen returns back on the shelf, but it’s really obvious what they are. And they’re always priced lower then the exact same items they’re located with. And they always have a label stating they are.
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Old 08-03-19, 09:38 PM
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Re: Fry's Electronics is dying

I ordered my first plasma television from Fry's online. I think it's the story of all retail businesses these days. The existence of Amazon Prime has eroded the retail marketplace for many different items, including most electronics.
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Old 08-04-19, 06:25 AM
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Re: Fry's Electronics is dying

Seems that Fry’s doesn’t really focus too much on media, just like Best Buy. And based on their ads, they hardly do any real discounts on media.
They were the first store in my area to get DVDs in for sale and had a huge selection for a while, all priced below list with new releases discounted even further. (I confess to buying many there when I worked for Tower as they still had them for less than with my employee discount.) Even just a couple years ago you could still spend an hour or so browsing through them. They used to keep advertising the big releases, but the last one I saw them advertise was "How to Train Your Dragon 3" (in lousy 2D) "sale priced" around $40. Their emails still have a generic graphic hawking their selection of 4k discs, but they don't have anything that came out within the past couple months. The last interesting thing I got there was a 4K disc of a Michael Schenker concert, only music disc I've seen on that format. Some of their movie shelves had already given way to toys and the "As seen on TV" crap, but now there's just a lot of empty space all around.
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Old 08-04-19, 09:23 AM
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Re: Fry's Electronics is dying

Fry's seems so outdated. Their store and their website looks like things from the late 90s. Instead of an app where you can add promos like Target Cartwheel, you have to rely on a promo code from an email. That is so ridiculous that I have to tell the cashier a promo code instead of just having an app.
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Old 08-04-19, 12:12 PM
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Re: Fry's Electronics is dying

Wow, you weren't kidding. I went into my local Fry's yesterday looking for a charging cable. And normally on a Saturday this place is bustling. But there were only a handful of cars in the parking lot. Inside it looks like the 3rd day of a 2 day garage sale. Shelves & shelves of emptiness. The only thing that seemed well stocked was the as seen on TV products & knockoff perfume. I suspect they'll be out of business before Christmas. Very sad.
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Old 08-04-19, 12:13 PM
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Re: Fry's Electronics is dying

Fry's is a fairly minor retail chain, aren't they? I think they only have about three dozen stores and half of them are in Cali, aren't they?
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Old 08-04-19, 02:55 PM
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Re: Fry's Electronics is dying

They used to do DVD deals. I remember buying the first Star Wars trilogy set there because they had the best price. And also they had the Alien Anthology Blu for $20 several years ago.

But I guess they didn’t have the nationwide numbers to leverage good deals from the studios.
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Old 08-04-19, 03:20 PM
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Re: Fry's Electronics is dying

Back in the early DVD days they were the best place to go for anime deals and huge selections. I would spend hours in there.
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Old 08-05-19, 09:33 PM
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Re: Fry's Electronics is dying

Another one gobbled up by the Amazon monster?

I used to browse at Fry's 25 years ago. They seem to have changed little since then. People are fickle, they place so much more credence on whether a store "looks nice." The more important thing is that the store's inventory is large and varied. I couldn't give a rat's ass whether Fry's looked like K-Mart in the '70s. The inventory is key, and keeping stock of sales items, and competitve prices. Fry's had all of these things 20 years ago, not so much now.

My system-building days are behind me, now it's all about power-saving laptops. For me, at least, why consume > 300 watts of power on a tricked-out tower system, when the thrifty 10-15 watt consumption of a laptop will do just as well for everyday needs? And you can't bulld laptops from scratch, ergo my Fry's shopping days are over.
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Old 08-06-19, 06:57 AM
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Re: Fry's Electronics is dying

Originally Posted by zyzzle View Post
My system-building days are behind me, now it's all about power-saving laptops. For me, at least, why consume > 300 watts of power on a tricked-out tower system, when the thrifty 10-15 watt consumption of a laptop will do just as well for everyday needs? And you can't bulld laptops from scratch, ergo my Fry's shopping days are over.
Similar sentiments here too.

20+ years ago I use to build my own pcs, and frequently shopped at places like frys and other local computer retailers.

Gradually over the 2000s decade, I came to the realization that I wasn't saving much of anything in building my own pcs. Easier and considerably less expensive to just buy a prebuilt generic desktop pc made by a company like Acer, Dell, Lenovo, HP, etc ....
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Old 08-06-19, 09:10 AM
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Re: Fry's Electronics is dying

Once I started building PC's, I've never gone back. For the same price as a Dell, I can install twice as much memory and have a faster processor. Granted, I buy a lot of my stuff from Newegg, but I've always gone to Fry's for smaller things. And when there is a peripheral on sale, more than likely not even Amazon can compete with the low price. That's the thing though, I've never seen Fry's really push physical media, it's way more of a computer parts and electronics store. As long as they focus on that and keep their prices competitive, then I don't see them going under. They don't even really compete with Best Buy whose stuff is way more expensive. But overall Fry's is a much smaller company, so any competition isn't really affecting them.
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Old 08-06-19, 10:01 AM
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Re: Fry's Electronics is dying

Haven't been to a Frys in years but they had more than just great media sales, their sales in general were pretty good. It was one of the only reasons back then that I opted for the physical version of the paper, to get their ads on Friday and whatnot. Now even Best Buy doesn't put ads in the Sunday paper...
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Old 09-03-19, 12:05 AM
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Re: Fry's Electronics is dying

It definitely isn't a surprise.

Having been to quite a handful of the stores they have in Northern California, their Media Sections have been dwindling fairly quickly for quite a while now.

Northern California is quickly becoming abysmal if you are looking to buy Blu-Rays & DVDs from stores that aren't Target, Best Buy or Walmart.

Even Amoeba Music in Berkeley, CA has significantly down-sized their Blu-Ray & DVD section.

At least there is still Rasputin Music (for now)!

Last edited by asianxcore; 09-03-19 at 04:02 PM.
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Old 09-03-19, 01:01 PM
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Re: Fry's Electronics is dying

I can't recall the channel but someone on YouTube, who does "dying malls" and stores videos, visited one recently. If I recall correctly, they were using empty displays as sort of temporary walls to block off huge portions of the store that were empty. He did remark about the qualirt and appearance of teh store architecture and decor however.

I do miss visiting Fry's but since moving and not having one even close I haven't stepped foot inside one in probably 15-20 years. I did sign-up for their e-mails and after receiving a couple now can't recall seeing any in the last couple months either.
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