NCIX filed for bankruptcy last Friday after closing down its last walk-in retail store. The exact reasons why the company had run out of money are not disclosed officially, but chatter indicates that NCIX spent too much on retail stores and too little on improving the efficiency of its online business.

NCIX (or Netlink Computer Inc.) was founded in 1996 by Steve Wu in Burnaby, British Columbia. Initially, NCIX was a walk-in retail outlet, but in 1997 the company began to sell products online, attracting customers both from Canada and the US. Over the years, NCIX established multiple walk-in stores in Canada and expanded its online business in North America to a point when it had to build a distribution center in California to serve its customers from the US. faster and cheaper. For years, the company has competed both against traditional retailers as well as against online rivals like Amazon and Newegg. NCIX survived multiple PC retailers in Canada, which encouraged it to focus on “real” stores. So instead of investing in online sales assets (such as warehouses, distribution centers, and delivery methods), the company invested heavily in large walk-in retail outlets in the recent years, its former employees say. In total, the company used to have about a dozen of retail locations in Canada, all of which were expensive to run.

Since NCIX remains a privately-owned entity, it does not show its financial results to the public, so it is unclear how much money it earned and how much money it lost in the recent years. What is known is that NCIX has been shutting down its walk-in outlets since July and then in September it announced a restructuring plan under which it would focus on online sales. On November 30, the firm closed down its last retail store and on December 1 it filed for bankruptcy with the Supreme Court of British Columbia, under File Number 170816. The website of the Supreme Court does not offer any details about the insolvency but reveals that Bowra Group will manage the procedure.

At press time, NCIX’s website was up, but it is hard to recommend to make purchases from a retailer that is in the midst of insolvency. At present, it is unknown what is going to happen to the online store and to the brand.

Sources: NCIX, CSO, LinusTechTips.



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  • mjeffer - Monday, December 4, 2017 - link

    It's no different down here in the US. There's Best Buy for general electronics, and in some areas you may have a Fry's who have a much larger computer component selection, though i wouldn't recommend shopping there. That's about it. If you're REALLY lucky you'll have a local shop that might at least stock a few parts you need in a pinch but you pay twice as much as just ordering online. Reply
  • btmedic04 - Monday, December 4, 2017 - link

    im fortunate to live about an hour away from a microcenter. by far the best b&m store ive ever been to. not sure whereabouts you live, but if theres one nearby, check them out. they usually run great promos and combo deals. back in august i got my r7 1700 and asus x370-f strix from there for $270 and $160 respectively Reply
  • Hxx - Monday, December 4, 2017 - link

    besides cpu/mobo combos , some open boxes and maybe a couple sales, there is not much to get excited for when it comes to Microcenter. Nearly everytime newegg has them beat especially in a state where NE does not charge sales tax. Microcenter sells those items at or below cost in hopes that you will step foot in their store and buy more than just a cpu. If you do then they score because everything else is marked up to heaven. If u don't then they take a loss and somehow they made it so far but I doubt they are doing well. Reply
  • zzTopZ - Tuesday, December 19, 2017 - link

    The population density in the GTA (Grand Toronto Area) is actually one of the largest in North America (~ 7M people).
    Also, other B&M stores (i.e. Canada Computers) are actually doing fine and keep opening new locations.
    NCIX problem lied solely with poor management.
  • cfenton - Monday, December 4, 2017 - link

    I liked NCIX and have ordered a fair amount from them over the years. It's kind of scummy that there is no notice about this on the main page of their website. I'd be very hesitant to buy anything from an insolvent company unless it was in person and at a steep discount. Hopefully that just means they are confident that they can fulfill any orders people make. Reply
  • Surfacround - Monday, December 4, 2017 - link

    i would not say sad to see them go... tthe web site had nothing in stock and the eglinton (mississauga) store. and the store had even less. while my first online purchase in ?1998? (ZALMAN CNPS3100-PLUS) was from NCIX ... online sales from them never got anybetter.

    speaking of the eglinton store, was always puzzled how NCIX purchased the CanadaComputers store when CanadaComputer moved to the burnhamthorpe location.

    also the location on yonge street was a “hole-in-wall” store that looked like a hi-fi store... and was competing with a “giant” canadacomputers store... (although i did buy the massive noctua NH-D15 from NCIX.
    NCIX should not have expanded, stayed in BC, (IMO all of the computer stuff from China and Japan have to come through BC to ontario )
    amazon is a formidable competitor if you have prime shipping... otherwise Newegg, or for those impulse purchase CanadaComputers (mississauga/ toronto area)

    sadly, i do not think i will miss NCIX in the toronto/mississauga area. if a was in the “ Vancouver “ BC area, i might have missed it, it being the home town store i assume.
  • creed3020 - Monday, December 4, 2017 - link

    Their website was a joke when it comes to efficient and effectively laid out e-commerce sites so not a surprise to see them go.

    Their limited number of retail stores was never going to help them steal market share from Canada Computers so that really seemed like a fools errand to chase down that line of business.
  • R.Iwamoto - Monday, December 4, 2017 - link

    They were good while they were around. They were one of the only places in Canada you could buy Swiftech gear from. One of their national competitors, Memory Express, is wasting no time filling in the brick-and-mortar aspect in the lower mainland of BC, having just opened up a location in Langley and announcing a Vancouver store kitty-corner from NCIX's old location. MemX, from my hometown of Calgary, is also in Ontario now too. In many ways, they have shown to be better put together than NCIX, most importantly actually having stock they claim to have and being able to procure backordered product in a timely way. That said, I would prefer having both around for price-matching and the other perks of competition.

    Their message boards (because phone and service tickets were proving futile) are full of folks, including myself, trying to cancel orders for refunds to rather fragmented avail; I had been trying to do so for two orders through November with essentially non-response on their end. Now that they are bankrupt we customers are at the back of the line as their creditors/suppliers are being compensated first. Hearsay is not only do they owe their customers and suppliers but were not paying their employees in the last few months. In my view it has been a very undignified end to the chain.
  • bji - Monday, December 4, 2017 - link

    Never heard of NCIX, but even Fry's, the once majestic powerhouse of computers/electronics stores in silicon valley, looks like a sad has-been these days. There was a time, before online shopping became significant, that Fry's and stores like it were competitive with mail order, and they had a real geek credibility too, back when being able to pick up a breadboard, some software, a CPU, porn magazines, and mountain dew (yes they sold all of these things), covered all of a geek's needs. But these days, online just eats the lunch of brick and mortar retail every time, especially for stores selling 'niche' products.

    I mean jeeze, you go into Fry's now and they have a whole wall of knock-off colones and perfumes for sale. How mixing dollar store products in with electronics is intended to keep the thing afloat, I'll never understand. Sad because I used to love browsing Fry's regularly and reading their weekly ads *in the newspaper*. I almost never go there now though.
  • Reflex - Monday, December 4, 2017 - link

    After this, a lot of us in the Seattle area consciously decided to buy our stuff elsewhere (usually Amazon/Newegg). Their behavior in that case was reprehensible, and included them shredding hard drives after a judge ordered them to hand them over.

    Knowing people who have worked at the Renton location also helped make it easy to walk away, management is just a bunch of scumbags.

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