RadioShack has a new owner who wants to make it “cool again”

Many thanks to SWLing Post contributor, Don (W7SSB), who shares the following story from Forbes.com:

Retail Ecommerce Ventures (REV), the retail acquisition company that bought Pier 1 and Modell’s Sporting Goods out of bankruptcy and snapped up the Dressbarn brand after it liquidated, has a new rescue mission: Radio Shack.

REV announced the deal today [November 19, 2020], making Radio Shack the seventh brand it has bought in less than two years.

REV’s strategy is to buy struggling, but well-known retail names it believes can benefit from their e-commerce expertise. In the world of online shopping, according to REV founders Tai Lopez and Alex Mehr, the brand you’ve heard of beats the one you’ve never heard of every time.

“It’s a trusted brand and we buy brands because of the trust,” Lopez said.

Why makes Radio Shack trusted?

“First of all what creates trust is to be known,” Lopez said. So even though Radio Shack has been mocked as the place where old cassette tape players, transistor radios, and personal CD players went to die, everyone has heard of it.

“”Every brand goes through phases of love and hate, but what we care about is it’s known. We can revive it on top of the high awareness that already exists,” he said.

Radio Shack, Lopez said, may actually be the best known of all the REV acquisitions. “This is our first truly global brand,” he said. Radio Shack at its heyday had stores throughout Europe, in Japan, in South America, the Middle East, and still has some international stores.

[…]“I’m hoping that they’re going to make it a broad consumer electronics portal and platform, where not only do they sell the myriad Radio Shack brands but they also are a go-to place for many other electronic brands as well,” he said. He sees the potential for Radio Shack, with an updated e-commerce presence, to aspire to become the Wayfair W +1.6% of electronics.

Lopez agrees that Radio Shack has a lot of room to grow into many new product areas.

“We’re interested in potentially having Radio Shack laptops, having our own flat screen TVs,” he said. “We want to expand it to anything consumer electronics, home, the phone business, home security. We want to go really broad.”

Garriques and his company’s background in electronics – he is a former president of Motorola Personal Communications, and former Global Consumer Group president at Dell who began his career at Bell Labs – should help with that expansion.

[,..]“Whatever was cool again once is becoming cool again, again,” Garriques said. “I think Radio Shack can ride that.” And that is what REV is betting on.

Click here to read the complete story at Forbes.com.

While I doubt RadioShack will dive back into the world of electronics parts, shortwave portables, and ham radio transceivers, it is interesting that someone is trying to resurrect the brand. Thanks for the tip, Don!

Spread the radio love

20 thoughts on “RadioShack has a new owner who wants to make it “cool again”

  1. Paul Evans

    I get regular e-mails from Radio Shack. They have been alive and well for a few years now – online only. In fact, they have a very wide range of components and when they are on sale they’re a good buy. If BGMicro hasn’t had something I wanted, my next call has been Radio Shack. They have had particularly good deals on plastic and die cast project boxes. I have a pile of them here awaiting project builds. Unfortunately, this take-over sounds like they will now destroy the newest status quo 🙁
    One of their biggest problems has always been the name – especially in the UK where they were called Tandy (the holding company in TX). Useless fact of the week: The largest TV antenna factory in the world (at one time) and which exclusively made all the Radio Shack antennas is now empty and only 2 miles away from Thomas and myself in Swannanoa, North Carolina!

    Reply
    1. Paul Evans

      Hmmm. I just went to the components area of radioshack.com and they’re showing ‘sold out online’ on all items. A lot of _previously_ retired components have been sold by the warehouse load to…… BGMicro. It’ll be interesting to see if there’s a sudden influx of Radio Shack parts there. They had a ship load of prototype boards there for ages. I have a bunch of them wrapped in cling film to prevent tarnishing and they were bought at a ludicrously low price!

      [CW Clubs Callsign files: https://www.g4bki.com/club_call_history.htm%5D

      Reply
  2. Peat

    Ever notice, no matter what you purchased at Radio Shack, the salesperson always tried to sell you batteries at checkout? Maybe it was just a Pennsylvania thing…

    Reply
  3. DanH

    There seems to be a lot of bitterness in these comments. Yes, it is unlikely that any new reincarnation of Radio Shack will have a primary focus upon the sale of radios. Videotaping no longer requires the use of video tape. Time marches on.

    Reply
  4. Robert Richmond

    Radio Shack was not classic “Radio Shack” over 20 years ago; less long today. o.0

    I was there as a part-timer for a few months around circa 1999 or 2000 to witness the change from niche strip-mall electronics shop to cell phone vendor. Depressing. Worst yet, salespeople apparently were making too much on cell sales and bonuses in certain markets, so the execs even started cutting into that pay model. Made it even more depressing for the frontline sales associates IMO.

    Reply
  5. Mike Bennett

    …perhaps Radio Shack can resurrect so of their old am/fm/lw/saw/air band radios…..remember PatrolMan, Tandy am/fm radio hesdphones, Realistic dx440 radio from the early 1990’s…..?!

    Reply
    1. DanH

      The modern descendant of the DX-440 is sold under the name of the original manufacturer: Sangean ATS-909X. When this item is in stock it usually sells for about US $220 on Amazon. The DX-440 sold for $199.95 in 1989.

      Reply
      1. Mike Bennett

        ..thanks for the reply! I owned the Radio shack Dx-440, until I sold it in November 2018, and sadly sold it for $30 ! But how is your opinion of its successor ( Sangean 909X) compared to the old DX-440 for AM/FM/SW/LW reception and which is your preference?

        Reply
  6. Mike Pasquale

    RadioShack’s death spiral began in 1993, when they sold off their Computer manufacturing business for a song to AST, followed by the delusional belief that they could sell a cell phone to everyone and based their entire business model around cell phone sales, which worked for about 5 years. By the time the market had changed and every major retailer was selling cell phones, they had alienated most of the customer base with the singled-minded focus, not to mention the toll it took on underpaid store staff (managers included who were never treated very well unless you had the rare million dollar store)

    I see what REV is doing as similar to what Systemmax/Tiger tried with Circuit City, and that sank like a stone after a couple of years.

    I’t time to give RadioShack a dignified burial.

    Reply
    1. Steve Sanchez

      The Radio Shack brand carried a lot of great products and adjusted well to the addition of trends like CB Radio, Computers but their strength was in the private label brands like Archer, Realistic and Micronta and the doofus who decided to dump those in favor of being a cell phone superstore after dumping a viable computer business even if they didn’t want to be a manufacturer.

      Reply
  7. Jakr Brodsky, AB3A

    Pretty much the only thing a store is good for any more is helping the customers make good decisions with what they want to do. Everything is available online for less money than the store can afford to sell it for.

    And how much extra are people willing to pay for such a service? Not enough to attract the kind of expertise and education that you’d need to support a store like Radio Shack. That’s been their problem since the 1980s. Unless they come up with a drastically different and interesting business model, I don’t see that changing.

    Reply
  8. Jim Tedford

    A lot of the folks who read this blog will wax eloquently about how they loved Radio Shack as kids -pored over the quarterly and annual catalogs, and gazed longingly at the latest Realistic shortwave radios and scanners in the stores. Me too. But that never was a model for profitability. Even in the 1960s and beyond, there were never enough of us to sustain a national retailer.

    Radio Shack is dead. Has been for decades. Maybe it will live on as a third-rate, on-line brand name, like Grundig is today.

    Lou above nailed it: cheap, disposable electronics (including radios) made in China are covered by Amazon and Walmart. The former Motorola exec taking over the company is laughable. We all know how Motorola turned out.

    We dinosaurs can spend our days perusing the old RS catalogs on http://radioshackcatalog.com/

    Reply
    1. Michael Black

      Radio Shack was viable, until it wasn’t.

      It sold to a niche market. Yes, hobbyists who built things, but it was never just that. In tge broad category of “electronic hobbyist” there was shortwave, ham radio, treasure hunter, etc. They could sell to people who identified as “hobbyist”, but also to someone who wanted a CB. set for business, a shortwave radio to get news from home, a metal detector for someone looking for treasure. And for those people, the stores weren’t in some basement where hobbyists hung out.

      And Radio Shack’s expansion coincided with expansion of consumer electronics. In 1970, the average home had a couple of radios, one or two tv sets, maybe some audio equipment. Electronics was a relatively big purchase. But within five years, there were calculators, digital watches and clocks, and computers. Radio Shack was in the right place at the right time. They had stores everywhere, so you could see that computer or sampling musical keyboard.

      Radio Shack did give up its uniqueness, the house brand items and the catalog that was so vital. But by then, the field had changed. There were lots of places to buy electronics, and people were used to it. A new gadget didn’t have the same impact as new gadgets in the seventies.

      Reply
  9. Bib

    Another reboot of Rat Shack ? Sounds like a dodgy venture capitalist scheme trying to milk the last few drops of goodwill in RS.

    Doomed to fail as consumer sentiment and buying habits have moved on from such outdated retail infrastructures.

    eBay, Amazon and Wallfart have the market sewn up. The closure of Universal Radio should have been a big clue that Rat Shacks days are numbered.

    Reply
  10. Lou

    So, a storefront where they can sell low quality branded electronics from China.

    Nobody is looking for a store like this.

    Radio Shack’s previous cash cow, cell phone activations, isn’t going to be enough given reduced activation bounties, the emergence of “franchise” carrier stores (most of the carrier stores are not corporate stores), and existing competitors like Best Buy.

    Walmart and Amazon already have the market cornered on $29 tablets, $200 laptops and other disposable cheap electronics.

    The fact that the press release mentions the president’s time at Motorola makes this idea of resurrecting Radio Shack even more laughable.

    Garriques was responsible for some outright moronic decisions that set in place the decline Motorola/Motorola Mobility would see in the coming years.

    Reply

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published.

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.