As a kid growing up in the early 80s and 90s, I can remember making numerous trips to RadioShack (whether it be in a standalone location or at the mall). Most of the time, it was to purchase batteries or parts to fix whatever electronic gadget I was attached to at the time (R/C cars, R/C airplanes, my portable battery-operated black and white TV), but I often just liked stepping foot inside the store to find the next gadget that would go on my wish list.
But as my gadgets became more miniaturized without an easy way to fix them and as stores like Best Buy came along, my fondness with RadioShack faded away. I’ve probably stepped into a RadioShack three or four times in the past decade, and that was only to chase amazing clearance deals that I read about online.
After years of diminished relevancy, financial losses, layoffs, and store closings, RadioShack is finally calling it quits. The company will close nearly 2,400 of it 4,000 stores in the U.S. But in surprising twist, the RadioShack name will live on, but with less prominence. Sprint has announced that it will move into 1,750 of RadioShack’s remaining stores, and says that its branding will overshadow that of the once bright specialty electronics store. Sprint explains:
Under the terms of the new agreement, Sprint would effectively operate a store within a RadioShack store, occupying approximately one third of the retail space of each location. Sprint employees will sell mobile devices and plans on all Sprint brands including Boost and Virgin Mobile. The stores will be co-branded with Sprint being the primary brand on storefronts and in marketing materials.
Sprint currently has 1,100 stores, so this will be a nice boost for its retail presence across the country.
“We’ve proven that our products and new offers drive traffic to stores, and this agreement would allow Sprint to grow branded distribution quickly and cost-effectively in prime locations,” said Sprint CEO Marcelo Claure. “Sprint and RadioShack expect to benefit from operational efficiencies and by cross-marketing to each other’s customers.”
It was reported earlier this week that both Sprint and Amazon were toying with the idea of moving into RadioShack stores. While Sprint appears to be the big winner in this deal, Amazon envisioned using the stores as a showroom for its hardware products and as a pickup/drop-off point for online orders and returns.