End of an era: Emotional farewell as Sanity staff say their final goodbyes to the iconic CD and DVD store as it tries to recreate its golden days online
- Sanity will close all stores across Australia by March 26
- Aussies devastated at the nostalgic store closing
- CEO announced the shift to online January 4
In less than two weeks, an iconic Aussie retailer will say farewell to its last brick and mortar store and move completely online.
Sanity, best known for selling CDs and DVDs and being a staple of most shopping centres across Australia for decades, announced on January 4 it would be shutting its final 50 stores.
CEO Ray Itaoui confirmed the sad news and warned the physical stores would cease to exist by March this year, prompting an outpouring of grief from staff and former customers.
Mr Itaoui said the shift in strategy was led by consumers’ recent preference to ditch physical media in lieu of streaming platforms such as Spotify and Netflix.
A handful of stores across Western and South Australia were the first to see their doors close for the final time in late-January, with the remaining stores along the eastern states closing throughout February and March.
Now, as the final five Queensland stores prepare for to make the shift towards online, emotions are running high as people say goodbye to a bygone era.
In less than two weeks, Sanity will cease to exist as physical stores amid a nationwide closure
Mr Itaoui said the shift in strategy was led by consumers recent preference to ditch physical media in lieu of an online focus
One staffer took to TikTok this week to say her final farewell to the Gympie store in rural Queensland, filming herself shutting up shop for the last time.
Staff learnt their fate the same day the public found out – on January 4 – before being told prices of everything in-store would plummet to 50 per cent immediately to clear off excess stock.
Weeks later, the first stores began closing up shop, including Mount Gambier in South Australia.
The Mount Gambier store shut on January 22 with one worker, who stayed until the final day, said the chaos was unlike ‘anything I’d seen before’.
As locals came to grips with the closure announcement, an online community page mistakenly reported that it was a one-day flash sale on available stock leading to the flurry of customers.
‘The line had people literally waiting for two hours, it was ridiculous,’ the staffer told Daily Mail Australia.
‘It was half price from the start and then it went to 75 per cent off and then either the last day or the last week we went to 90 per cent off.
‘Nothing was left by that point, mostly Pop Vinyls and empty shelves, which was sad to see.’
Weeks later the first stores began closing up shop, including Mount Gambier in southeast SA (pictured)
Sanity was launched as a single store selling vinyl records and cassettes, labelled Jetts, in Pakenham, Victoria by businessman Brett Blundy in 1980.
In 1992, the expanding franchise was relaunched as Sanity and the first outlet to take the name was in the north eastern Melbourne suburb as Doncaster.
At its peak, Sanity had more than 150 stores covering every state and territory in the country.
After purchasing the business in 2009, Itaoui hoped to continue that growth but failed to compete with the convenience of the internet.
‘With our customer shifting to digital for their visual and music content consumption, and with diminishing physical content available to sell to our customer, it has made it impossible to continue with our physical stores,’ Itaoui said in a statement back in January.
Five Queensland stores remain open including in Brisbane, Toowoomba and Bundaberg.
The next wave of closures will see Brisbane’s remaining stores close on March 19, leaving only Bundaberg and Toowoomba to bask in the twilight of the era until March 26.
Five Queensland stores remain open in the greater Brisbane area, Toowoomba and one in Bundaberg
CEO Ray Itaoui said the business will continue online
Read more at DailyMail.co.uk