Sunday, February 8, 2015

Goodbye, Radio Shack

It didn't have to end this way, but Radio Shack has filed for bankruptcy. This is a national retailer with 3 million Facebook likes and a decades-old legacy. A retailer that rode the wave of trendy tech during the CB (citizen's band) radio days and the early PC it marketed, the TRS-80. A retailer with a store seemingly in every shopping center and high brand recognition.

But the world changed and Radio Shack didn't change as quickly as needed. For one thing, the tinkerers who were once a major target market (buying electronics parts and gizmos and gadgets to solder or wire together) now had little time or had other interests. The maker movement is bringing this kind of tinkering back but Radio Shack won't be around to cater to this customer's needs.

Then there was the rise of the big-box store like Best Buy, a veritable tech supermarket that Radio Shack's tiny locations couldn't match in any way. Not to mention the e-commerce tidal wave that Radio Shack simply couldn't latch onto.

Sure, Radio Shack was in on the cell phone craze. But the kinds of deals that helped saturate that market aren't needed now. In fact Sprint will take over space in some of the chain's stores and Sprint employees will sell from there.

So thousands of Radio Shack stores will close . . . but the brand may live on in a new incarnation. Stay tuned.

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