RadioShack to close 500 retail stores

RadioShackAdClipAfter serving up a comical, self-effacing Super Bowl ad on Sunday, RadioShack’s stock momentarily surged, only to plummet after RadioShack announced yesterday that they are to close about 500 of their 4,500 retail stores in the coming months.

RadioShack admitted through its ad that the retailer’s mindset had been “stuck in the 80s”–an outdated image to make way for “Do It Together” brand positioning. Now investors must be questioning if “The Shack” can thrive in a retailing environment dominated by online and big-box retailers.

While many radio listeners and amateur radio operators (like myself) miss the early decades of their retail offerings, RadioShack is the only chain I know of in the US that still carries shortwave radios on their shelves–an easy access point for newcomers to SWLing. I imagine part of RadioShack’s new brand positioning will eliminate legacy product lines as they are no longer as profitable as they once were.

Many thanks to Dave (N9EWO) for the tip. 

Click here to watch RadioShack’s Super Bowl ad on YouTube.

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4 Responses to RadioShack to close 500 retail stores

  1. Tom Stiles says:

    Most of the Radio Shack stores in our area, have very little in stock compared to years ago. A few of the stores that have been around for a while look empty because they are still the same size but have little stock. One store still has a number of things related to shortwave wave listening and if you ever need something in a hurry they come in handy but you end up playing 4 to 5 times what it would cost mail order.

    Another Tom

    • Thomas says:

      Yes, very true, Tom. For a (very) brief period of time in 1996, I worked for a RadioShack corporate store while my wife was doing graduate work in Ohio. Since I had always been a fan of the store in my early years, I though it would be a dream temporary job.

      Boy was I wrong! RS management pushed their sales associates to aggressively pursue any and all sales possible. They had a multitude of perks for selling certain items and, especially, their extended warranties. At the time, they were also very focused on customers signing up for their RS credit card. Being someone who doesn’t believe in debt, of course I never asked for anyone to sign up (not a popular play to management).

      That job taught me a lot: first and foremost, that I’m not a sales person. Any sales I made were because I spent time helping customers. I didn’t care if they wanted a computer or a capacitor. After the Christmas rush, I left the store on good terms.

      Don’t get me wrong, there were some great employees at RS; sales was/is just not my cup of tea. I always thought the store would do better without a commission-based pay scale. Stores like BestBuy seem to have made this work.

      Even back in the 90s, RS was pulling some of the most interesting radio offerings off their shelves. Some of my favorite RS stores today are franchises. Many of the owners will still carry parts and components the corporate stores will not.

      Thanks for your comment, “Another Tom”!

      -Thomas

      • Tom Stiles says:

        Interesting. i worked with RS managers years ago providing software support and training for their computer customers (this was before Windows). I bought a number of their brand of radios over the years and for the most part enjoyed them and still do. I still buy some of their older radios off Ebay.

        Another Tom

  2. Ed McCorry says:

    I probably won’t miss the one near me if it closes. About the only time I go there anymore is if I need a plug or socket for some project and most of the time they won’t have it. I would be lucky to find a Pl-259 plug anymore. So most of my parts are bought on line (and usually cheaper). Years ago they had a good selection of stuff for the experimenter and hobbyist but now it seems they just cater to the plug and play generation. Most of what they carry can be found at Best Buy and some of the big box stores. Just one dinosaur’s opinion.

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