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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  • webdoctors - Monday, December 4, 2017 - link

    That's sad. Their Markham, ON store was really convenient, clean and priced competitively. You could do online order pickups at that store too. Its hard for B&M stores to survive in Canada where the rent and overheads are very high but the foot traffic and population density is really low. There's not many tech stores left anymore, just canada computers and Best Buy I guess.
  • Cliff34 - Monday, December 4, 2017 - link

    Sad news for all of us.
  • ViRGE - Monday, December 4, 2017 - link

    "This is indeed a horrible day for Canada, and therefore, the rest of the world."
  • guidryp - Monday, December 4, 2017 - link

    Yeah. I feel the same for the store in Ottawa. I ordered online from them before we had one, but I really liked the B&M with decent prices and stock, and pickup.
  • Theodore76 - Monday, December 4, 2017 - link

    B&M is slowly crumbling. We need to embrace the future of ecommerce. Opening physical stores is too expensive, and leads to inflated pricing. It may be convenient, but it clearly is not the way to go anymore.
  • romrunning - Monday, December 4, 2017 - link

    I think B&M stores can have a specific niche or purpose. Take an Apple store - clearly their B&M store is surviving & doing well. The key, like everything retail, is having something people want to buy.
  • Morawka - Monday, December 4, 2017 - link

    its only doing well because they are the only store that can legally and authentically service apple products.. Don't get me wrong, i'm sure it would still have a lot of foot traffic but they would not get people in the door window shopping without the service department. Its in apples best interest to keep fighting "Right to Repair" legislation to keep the status quo going.
  • Hxx - Monday, December 4, 2017 - link

    Apples to oranges. Apple built a brand. Difference. Take an apple product and slap Dell on it and nobody is gonna wanna buy it even if its half off. Once you build a brand and differentiate yourself then sky's the limit. you can sell s**t and people will still buy it. Look at Starbucks. These guys had no chance, and the reason why they lasted this long is most likely because they are not based in the US. these guys remind me a bit of Circuit City. It didn't end up well for them either.
  • Hurr Durr - Tuesday, December 5, 2017 - link

    I'd buy a decent Dell.
  • piroroadkill - Wednesday, December 6, 2017 - link

    I'd rather buy a Dell than an Apple product.

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