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Sony Centres in Sydney close amid tough retail climate

Sony Centres in Sydney close amid tough retail climate

Technology vendor closes its concept stores at two sites in Sydney

Walking past the World Square shopping centre in Sydney’s CBD, the once recognisable storefront of the Sony Centre can no longer be found.

The flagship concept store was shut down this month after formally suspending trading on March 3, with the same fate suffered by the Sony Centre in Drummoyne.

The storefront was plastered with sales signs in late February, and to an observer it could have seemed like a typical sale, though in reality it was a liquidation sale.

The closure of the two stores comes less than 18 months since the technology vendor shut down its Sony Centre in Chatswood. While the Sony Centres were dedicated storefronts for Sony products, they were in fact run by electronics retailer Bing Lee.

Sony did not share the reasons for why the Sony Centres were shut down, but the tough retail climate resulting from reduced consumer spending and increased competition were likely the leading reasons.

This move comes at a time when vendors such as Apple are expanding their retail presence in cities such as Sydney, while companies such as Samsung are setting up a dedicated retail presence, suggesting reduced demand for Sony products was another contributing factor.

The closure of the Sony Centres may take the company out of the spotlight amongst shoppers, a Sony Australia spokesperson confirmed plans by the company to roll out Sony themed kiosks in selected shopping centres

“This retail model, offers shoppers the opportunity to get hands-on with Sony products in a flexible, high-traffic location,” the spokesperson said.

The spokesperson said the move was a response to the “changes in consumer behaviour” while at the same time pursuing “direct retail avenues and locations” to better reach Sony customers.

The Sony kiosk solution has already been established in Westfield shopping centre in Chatswood following the closure of the Sony Centre there, and this will likely form the blueprint for additional kiosks that show up at other retail outlets.

At the moment, Sony Australia has not said what kiosks will offer in terms of product range, though the vendor has traditionally sold some of its products only through retail.

At the time of writing, a tenant for the site of the Sony Centre at World Square had not yet been found and the shop space remained unoccupied.

Patrick Budmar covers consumer and enterprise technology breaking news for IDG Communications. Follow Patrick on Twitter at @patrick_budmar.

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