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Gibson Guitars: CEO Henry Juszkiewicz explains battle against online retail


We’ve been keeping you updated on the sad news relating to the possible bankruptcy of one of the guitar world’s foremost manufacturers Gibson. First it was set for closure, then CEO Henry Juszkiewicz assured that the debt was run of the mill and then it seemed that the situation appears more likely a ‘internal coup’ in a bid to wrestle ownership.

Juszkiewicz, who has been the CEO of Gibson since 1992 having acquiring the company in 1986, knows all to well of the difficulties involved in retail, now more than ever before. Gibson, a brand that have been long time favourites for so many musicians, unveiled news last week that the company was struggling to meet its obligations on $375 million worth of debt. According to multiple analysts and investors, the default risk considered high and would likely result in bankruptcy.

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Discussing the struggles of the company, Juszkiewicz explained how Gibson and other ‘brick and mortar stores’ are forever running in fear of the online retailer. Amazon, now a leading employer in the US, continues to dominate:”All of the retailers are fearful as can be; they’re all afraid of e-commerce, with Amazon just becoming the second largest employer in the US, and the brick and mortar guys are just panicking,” Juszkiewicz told Billboard. “They see the trend, and that trend isn’t taking them to a good place, and they’re all wondering if there will be a world for brick and mortar stores for much longer. It’s a turbulent world to be a retailer, and many of our retail partners are facing that same issue,” he added.

“Guitars are unique, and are a lot like clothing,” the CEO said when asked how the company would attempt to embrace e-commerce. “There are some products that I call fashion products, where before you buy it you want to see how it feels and looks on you, and the guitar definitely fits both of those criteria.

“There is a feeling, and I believe it’s true, that every guitar is slightly different from each other; its made out of wood, and two pieces of wood will always be different from each other. We’ve always been loyal to retail; we still don’t have a site where we sell directly [to consumers]. We probably will in the future, and part of that is in reaction to general trending toward e-commerce.

“These are troubled times for retail.”

[MORE] – Gibson Guitars to be saved? Under threat company responds to bankruptcy fears