End of an era: Emotional farewell as Sanity staff say a final farewell to the iconic CD and DVD store as they try to recreate their golden days online
- Sanity will close all stores in Australia by March 26
- Aussies devastated by homesick store closure
- The CEO announced the move to the Internet on January 4
In less than two weeks, an iconic Australian retailer will say goodbye to its last brick-and-mortar store and move entirely online.
Sanity, best known for selling CDs and DVDs and being a staple of most Australian shopping malls for decades, announced on January 4 that it was closing its last 50 stores.
CEO Ray Itaoui confirmed the sad news, warning that the brick-and-mortar stores would cease to exist in March this year, causing great grief from staff and former customers.
Itaoui said the change in strategy was led by recent consumer preference to ditch physical media over streaming platforms like Spotify and Netflix.
A handful of stores in Western and South Australia were the first to close their doors for the last time in late January, with the remaining stores in the eastern states shuttering through February and March.
Now, as the last five Queensland stores prepare to make the switch to the online world, emotions are running high as people say goodbye to a bygone era.
In less than two weeks, Sanity will cease to exist as brick-and-mortar stores amid a nationwide lockdown
Itaoui said the change in strategy was led by recent consumer preference to ditch physical media instead of an online approach.
An employee took to TikTok this week to say a final goodbye to the Gympie store in rural Queensland and filmed herself closing the store for the last time.
The staff learned of their fate the same day the public found out, on January 4, before being told that the prices of everything in the store would immediately plummet to 50 percent to weed out the excess. of stocks.
Weeks later, the first stores began to close, including Mount Gambier in South Australia.
The Mount Gambier store closed on January 22 and one worker, who stayed until the last day, said the chaos was “unlike anything he had seen before”.
When locals became aware of the closure announcement, an online community page mistakenly reported that it was a one-day flash sale on available stock that led to a rush of customers.
“The line literally had people waiting for two hours, it was ridiculous,” the staff member told Daily Mail Australia.
“It was half price from the beginning and then it went down to 75 percent off and then the last day or the last week we went down to 90 percent.
“There was nothing left at the time, mostly pop vinyl and empty shelves, which was sad to see.”
Weeks later, the first stores began to close, including Mount Gambier in SE SA (pictured)
Sanity was launched as a one-stop shop selling vinyl records and cassettes, labeled Jetts, in Pakenham, Victoria, by businessman Brett Blundy in 1980.
In 1992 the sprawling franchise was relaunched as Sanity and the first outlet to take on the name was in the north-eastern suburb of Melbourne as Doncaster.
At its peak, Sanity had more than 150 stores covering every state and territory in the country.
After buying the business in 2009, Itaoui hoped to continue that growth, but it couldn’t compete with the convenience of the Internet.
“With our client switching to digital for their consumption of visual and music content, and with the decrease in physical content available to sell to our client, it has made it impossible to continue with our physical stores,” Itaoui said in a statement in January.
Five Queensland stores remain open, including Brisbane, Toowoomba and Bundaberg.
The next wave of closures will see the remaining Brisbane stores close on March 19, leaving only Bundaberg and Toowoomba to enjoy the twilight of the era until March 26.
Five Queensland stores remain open in Greater Brisbane, Toowoomba and one in Bundaberg
CEO Ray Itaoui said that the business will continue online.