Headphone giant Bose has announced it will close every Australian store – along with outlets across the globe.
The shock news was revealed yesterday afternoon, with the high-end headphone and speaker retailer announcing 119 brick-and-mortar stores are set to close globally.
The exact number of Australian stores – and jobs – set to be lost is not yet known.
In a statement, vice president of global sales Colette Burke confirmed the US-based company's retail stores were becoming a thing of the past and said the rise of online shopping had been a major factor.
"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," she said.
"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."
But Ms Burke said the number of affected workers would remain "private" for now.
Other Bose stores in Europe, Japan and North America are also earmarked for closure, although it is understood some in Asia and the Middle East will remain.
Bose was launched in 1964 and is based in Massachusetts in the US.
It is best known for its home audio systems and speakers, noise-cancelling headphones, professional audio products and car sound systems.
Social media has been flooded with comments from Bose fans who have been left stunned by the news, which comes just days after a string of other high-profile retail collapses in this country which commentators have dubbed a "retail apocalypse".
News.com.au contacted Bose Australia for comment.
The announcement comes hot on the heels of a slew of other high-profile Australian businesses that have folded in the first fortnight of 2020.
It started early on January 7 when it was revealed department store Harris Scarfe was set to shut 21 stores across five states over the course of just one month after the retailer was placed in receivership in December.
Just days later, McWilliam's Wines – the country's sixth-largest wine company that has been run by the same family for more than 140 years – announced it had also appointed voluntary administrators.
Then it was popular video game chain EB Games' turn, with the business confirming it was closing at least 19 stores across the country within weeks, while fashion chain Bardot is also planning to shutter 58 stores across the nation by March.
And this week, it also emerged Curious Planet – the educational retailer previously known as Australian Geographic, which is owned by parent company Co-op Bookshop – would pull 63 stores across Australia after failing to find a buyer for the brand, while denim chain Jeanswest entered voluntary administration just yesterday.
The total confirmed number of bricks-and-mortar stores earmarked for closure has already risen to 161 this year alone.
2020s dismal first fortnight for retail follows a horror 2019 that brought the collapse of a slew of Aussie businesses, with some international players also folding in recent months.
Last January, menswear retailer Ed Harry went into voluntary administration, and a week later, Aussie sportswear favourite Skins also revealed it was on the brink of failure after applying for bankruptcy in a Swiss court.
At the end of the month, the Napoleon Perdis beauty empire announced the cult make-up chain's 56 Aussie stores had closed for stocktake. Administrators were appointed, and scores of stores have since collapsed.
Footwear trailblazer Shoes of Prey also met its demise in March last year along with British fashion giant Karen Millen, which in September revealed it would soon shut all Aussie stores, leaving around 80 jobs in peril.
In October, celebrity chef Shannon Bennett's Melbourne burger chain Benny Burger was also placed into administration, followed by seven Red Rooster outlets in Queensland just days later and then Aussie activewear sensation Stylerunner, which has since been sold to Accent Group Limited.
In November, it was revealed that popular furniture and homewares company Zanui was in trouble after it abruptly entered voluntary administration, leaving angry customers in the lurch.
Later that month, Muscle Coach, a leading fitness company, was put into voluntary administration after a director received a devastating diagnosis and the company racked up debts of almost $1 million.
Then it was the famous Criniti's restaurant chain's turn to enter into voluntary administration, with several of the 13 sites across the country set to close for good. It was closely followed by discount legend Dimmeys.