Sounds like Sprint’s looking to heavily increase their retail presence. Bloomberg is reporting that RadioShack is in such bad shape that they are considering selling off and closing all of their stores, half of which could go to Sprint.
An apparent source tapped Sprint as a buyer of up to half of RadioShack’s fleet — around 4,000 stores currently — and that those stores would be rebranded under Sprint’s banner. The rest of the stores would simply close, and RadioShack will effectively cease to exist.
For now the deal is considered to be “on the table” with no clear commitment made (meaning RadioShack could sell the stores to someone else or find a buyer to take control of the brand and keep it alive). The report also goes on to suggest RadioShack wants the name to live through co-branding, though there’s really no incentive for Sprint to attach the RadioShack name to their business.
It’s always a sad day to see electronics retailers having to succumb to the pressure put on them by big box names like Walmart and Best Buy. Circuit City and CompUSA suffered similar fates a few years back.
Circuit City still lived on in the form of online storefronts, but were mostly shells of the same warehouse operation known as Tiger Direct (the stores have since been consolidated under the Tiger Direct brand). We wouldn’t be surprised to see the same happen for RadioShack if this effort to bow out of the electronics retail scene falls through.
It’s even tougher to see this happen to RadioShack considering the humble beginnings and nature of the store. What once started off as a small-time local business blossomed into a national hotspot for new technology, and although it never reached the heights of Best Buy it remained a primary electronics destination for many people.
Still, this is a business and it’s hard to stay open when you’re losing money for 11 straight quarters. That performance has caused RadioShack’s stock to hit the lowest point it’s been since it began public trading, and there’s nothing to suggest it will ever recover.
Looking back toward Sprint’s side, this new fleet of retail space would help bolster an already decent brick and mortar presence, which — combined with an improved network, edgy marketing and value-packed features — should go a long way toward shortening the gap between them and their competitors.