back to article Bankrupt RadioShack to close up to 2,900 stores, share others with Sprint

RadioShack filed for bankruptcy protection on Thursday, in a long-expected move that will result in the struggling electronics retailer closing around half of its stores in the US and Canada. The firm is seeking protection under Chapter 11 of US bankruptcy law, which will allow it to continue operations as it attempts to …

  1. Kevin McMurtrie Silver badge

    I read this as...

    They'll be closing their stores in two phases.

    1. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      So much for my 'Battery of the Month Club' membership card

      Sad. I'm quite fond of non-alkaline Carbon Zinc batteries.

  2. Mark 85 Silver badge

    Sad ending.

    They should probably just close them all and get it over with.

    1. Tom 13

      Re: Sad ending.

      Yep. Judge should move them from Chapter 11 to Chapter 7 and be done with it. He (or she) won't of course. But he should.

  3. lambda_beta

    Good Bye

    Good Bye Radio Shack ... I remember as a boy (early 60's) going to your store in Boston and rummaging through the 'bargain bin' to buy cheap parts for projects .. resistors, capacitors, transformers circuit boards etc. A time for hobbyist and innocence.

    1. DNTP

      Re: Good Bye

      I remember the Boston store (the one on Comm Ave near Kenmore) as being great for stuff before I went to college, but then by the time I got into Boston University, they switched to basically cell phones and accessories.

      The Microcenter on the other side of the river is much, much better. The staff there are actually really helpful.

    2. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Re: Good Bye

      In the UK our wing of the company (Tandy) closed a few years back.

      Instead we now have Maplin who are much more expensive.

    3. Michael Wojcik Silver badge

      Re: Good Bye

      I did the same some years later. One of the stores on Boston's North Shore - probably in one of the malls in Danvers or Peabody - still had a tube-testing machine when I used to shop there. This would have been early 80's, probably, when I graduated from electronics kits to buying my own components.

      For me, Radio Shack died when you could no longer ask one of the sales reps to help you find the right discrete components for your next 555 timer project.

  4. CheesyTheClown

    Couldn't get some with a pocket full of 50s in a cat house

    RadioShack is still one of the strongest brands on the planet even if they have done everything possible to ruin it by making it a mobile phone store.

    The entire world is going entirely nuts about IoT, Cisco just announced a competition with nearly $100,000 of prized for teenaged girls to get involved. And RadioShack, already one of the biggest distributors of IoT technology can't figure out how to make a profit?

    Let me help!

    1) Fix the damn website! Shopping on the RadioShack website is painful at best. It feels like a relic from 1998 and is just littered with too much crap. Dump it and put something decent there.

    2) Internet of Things! RadioShack has been the starting point of everything electronics and computers for millions of people for decades. I can't even guess how many copies of Forrest Mims III books on getting started in electronics on engineers mini-notebooks they sold. As a child in New York, I spent hours every week with my friends scanning Radio Shack catalogs and store shelves figuring out how many resistors and capacitors we could buy. If we saved up our candy money together for two weeks, we could get a little breadboard and really make stuff happen.

    RadioShack is the place to make that happen. There is probably no company better positioned in the world to spark imagination among children and adults for making IoT happen.

    Stock up the shops and get people out there to teach. Sponsor mini-maker fairs at RadioShack stores and sell parts, kits, components, books, etc... Get a 3D printer into each store or make an agreement with the nearest OfficeDepot or UPS store to get robotics up and running in the shops.

    3) Sell virtual!

    RadioShack used to have a great group of people building kits and tools for people who were going to learn. Virtual assets are the way to make BIG BUCKS!!! Sell 3D designs that people can print out using printers they bought at RadioShack or pay for higher quality versions printed on professional 3D printers. Get the assets going!

    4) Time to revive the Tandy way of thinking!

    IoT, 3D Printing, Education, Tools, intellectual property... the list goes on and on. Tandy/RadioShack was one of the greatest enterprises ever. What it took was innovation and education. Even to this day, many people remember the Tandy TRS-100 which might have been the first type of portable computer anyone had ever hear of. Bill Gates wrote most of the code on that computer himself. RadioShack has the one and only thing they need to make this all happen again... they have the name. It's time to start innovating.

    Lastly, you have the final option...

    You can try and stay ahead of the game selling chargers and cases and phones and just see how long you manage to maintain a huge business and supply chain against smaller agile players who run on shoestring budgets and zero marketing costs.

    1. david bates

      Re: Couldn't get some with a pocket full of 50s in a cat house

      You could say most of that about Maplin as well...

    2. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Re: Couldn't get some with a pocket full of 50s in a cat house

      RadioShack is still one of the strongest brands on the planet

      Which planet? Doesn't seem to be this one:

    3. Tom 13

      Re: Couldn't get some with a pocket full of 50s in a cat house

      There is probably no company better positioned in the world to spark imagination among children and adults for making IoT happen.

      There shouldn't be, but the sad truth is, Radio Shack can't do that anymore. In the race to the lowest paid sales clerk they lost that capacity. This is the biggest reason why they are going bankrupt.

  5. Alister

    What about the Radio Shack stores in Europe? I can't see any mention of those in the article. Are they a separate franchise or something?

    1. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      They were called Tandy (Radio Shack name was already registered in the UK) and were sold in 1999.

      I guess Alan Partridge name checking them didn't help.

  6. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    They died years ago, in the UK

    When the last of the Tandy franchise stores closed. I'm sure they must have sold some good stuff, but what I remember most is the awful sound from the Radio Shack speakers..... Oh, and I had the 200 in one.

    1. Peter Gathercole Silver badge

      Re: They died years ago, in the UK

      I never saw a US Radio Shack store, having only seen the UK Tandy stores. I was never impressed by them because they were too small to stock enough of the available Radio Shack range to be useful.

      But on one of the previous articles, someone posted a link to a blog that contained a link to the old catalogues site for Radio Shack which shows a proud history of actually selling useful things.

      I can see that some older people might look back fondly on the past, but today is a different time. I miss bricks and mortar shops of all types, there's nothing like browsing and being actually able to see what you are buying, but I can see that they can't stock the ranges or match the prices of internet sellers. Unless you live in a large city, it's much easier nowadays to order online and just have the stuff delivered.

      People in the UK compare Maplin to Radio Shack, but I wonder just how many of those people remember that Maplin first became big by selling mail order rather than having many (any?) physical stores.

      1. Anonymous Coward
        Anonymous Coward

        Re: They died years ago, in the UK

        Maplin have evolved though, from pure electronics, tools etc into a more general electronics store where people can go to get power supplies, quadcopters, hard drives etc.

        The components part of the business is still there, but very limited. They tend to only have 2 of any capacitor, which is annoying when you need 10.

        1. Peter Gathercole Silver badge

          Re: They died years ago, in the UK

          Somewhere in the house I have a Maplin catalogue from about 1981. I know that this is a few years after they started (I first ordered from them in about 1976, but from an advert in ETI). This was the time that Radio Spares and Farnell would not sell to you unless you has a business account.

          I'm pretty certain that even back then they sold gadgets and gimmicks like RC cars, clocks et. al. There just weren't as many things available (remember that back then, digital watches were a pretty neat idea), and basic things like digital multimeters, calculators, breadboards with TTL and LEDS and electronic ignition modules satisfied the techno-lust of the geeks of the day, and other men (sorry, the time was just more sexist) wanted motorbikes, powerful cars and season tickets to their football team.

  7. Anonymous Coward

    I know I'm no business guru,but...

    ..if I hadn't had a profit since 2011, I wouldn't of left it 4 years before closing the unprofitable stores.

    If you are making billions then yes you can have a few loss leaders to keep up the brand image (but even Tesco couldn't sustain this), but not when you are making a loss.

    1. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Re: I know I'm no business guru,but...

      "..if I hadn't had a profit since 2011, I wouldn't of left it 4 years before closing the unprofitable stores."

      Ahh, but you've not put yourself in the seat of the managers and directors of Radio Shack, have you? Firstly, this bankruptcy tells us that the majority of the stores were not viable as part of a large company selling yesterday's products. So they were onto a loser already. But by eeking it out for another four years, they've had another four years of fat executive salaries (and bonuses), whilst the company has stayed afloat most likely by leeching off the shareholder's equity.

      If the directors had been fully aligned with shareholder's interests, they'd have closed the lossmaking stores many years back, and either taken a (probably doomed) gamble on a new image and new product range, or settled for a progressive and controlled shut down of the business so that the shareholders could have got some cash back.

      The best that might be said of the board is that they perhaps hoped that "something would turn up" to revive the company's fortunes. The worst is that they perhaps knew that the current model would end in bankruptcy and the loss of most employees jobs, but simply kept the plates spinning because they were earning plenty of money. So last year, the CEO trousered $2.4m in cash, and share options (now worthless unless he sold them) of $6.3m. In 2014 the board agreed that to retain this man's stellar talent, he should be paid a "retention bonus" of a further half a million dollars if he stayed until 1 March 2015.

      Looks to me like Radio Shack is a beautiful example of agency theory in action.

  8. JeffyPoooh

    "Radio Shack....closing around half of its stores in the US and Canada."


    1. Tom 13

      Re: "Radio Shack....closing around half of its stores in the US and Canada."

      Well according to Wiki, in 2007 there were 16 privately owned Radio Shack stores in Canada. There might still be a few (one?) left in business.

  9. Henry Wertz 1 Gold badge

    So more of the same

    So more of the same then.

    I think this is what probably put them out of business; 20 years ago, you could go in, get an electronics kit, get resistors, even buy (gasp!) a radio (either normal radio, CB radio, shortwave radio, or some ham radios.) Along with soldering irons, certain microchips, wires, TV antennas, and so on. I don't expect this to be a huge market, but there was probably no competition whatsoever in many markets they were in.

    The last 10 years, they've basically been trying to make a go selling cell phones and plans; but there are so many other stores selling these too that I would never think to go to Radio Shack (the nearest Radio Shack has a cell phone seller NEXT DOOR to it, selling better plans to boot!) I've tried to go to Radio Shack, in one case to actually buy a radio, and they have almost nothing of interest in stock.

    These plans of Radio Shack's really make it sound like they are still going to pretend they are a viable cell phone store.

  10. DanceMan

    Once upon a time

    Getting a copy of the Radio Shack catalogue every year was essential. Now very little is fixable and technological change is so rapid that most devices are quickly obsolete. Different times.

  11. joejack

    I'll just leave this here...

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