Friday, August 15, 2008

A&B Sound Closes Stores, Rumour Mill In High Gear

Marketnews reported the other day that storied West-coast CE retailer A&B Sound had closed two of their oldest and best-known locations: Vancouver's Seymour Street and Marine Drive.

a&b sound has closed two stores in Vancouver, Paul Girard informed me by telephone before noon Vancouver time today. The stores affected are the Seymour St. store downtown, and Marine Dr. location on the south side of the city.
Currently, five a&b sound locations remain: North Vancouver, Pitt Meadows, Abbotsford, Langford, and Edmonton, AB.
The North Vancouver and Langford stores are new, and had been seen as the new model with a smaller footprint.

In the intervening time since Wally Hucker broke the story, my phone and email have been deluged by Canadian industry contacts who either wanted more dirt, or wanted to tell me some.

Sadly, I must admit that I'm not as well plugged in to A&B Sound as I used to be. In the last three and a half years since Seanix bought them, virtually everyone I knew there has either quit or been fired. Consequently, I've got no really good insights into what's happening on the inside.

Regardless, the rumours about A&B's future are flying. I'm not going to repeat them here, in part because a) if you're plugged in to the Canadian CE scene, you've already heard them, b) if you're a reader in the U.S. you probably don't care and c) I'm already on Seanix/A&B owner Paul Girard's shitlist for some of my earlier (slander-free, I might add) bloggotage about A&B's direction, and further provocation would probably be unwise.

I will say, however, that I have to support Girard's decision to eliminate Seymour and Marine Drive. As old and storied as those locations were, they were still owned by former A&B owner Nick Steiner. It's a Well Known Fact that the rents in those location were steep indeed, which meant making a go of it was that much harder. In light of that, shuttering those locations makes good sense.

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