Radio Shack is joining the list of things from my past that are now gone forever. Radio Shack has recently been delisted from the New York Stock Exchange, filed for Chapter 11 bankruptcy, and is in the process of negotiating a sale of half their stores to Sprint with the intent on shutting down the other half of their company owned stores. It’s hard to say what will happen to franchise stores, some say they are doing fine, but where will they get stock? What value will the brand have when it’s gone?
Analysts are not surprised because the company has been losing money for the last eleven straight quarters. They blame it on competition from online retailers like Amazon.
I am not surprised because Radio Shack abandoned it’s core customer base several decades ago. The electronic hobbyist / enthusiast was their core business, I was among that group. I found that as time went on the parts and other useful items available dwindled, while they devoted large portions of their store to selling cellular phones. I’ve also owned STA-2000 and STA-2100 receivers, both of which were well designed and built units for their time. They stopped building their own equipment, moved to selling Japanese junk, and then stopped selling audio equipment altogether.
Trying to make money selling other peoples stuff is a challenge, they can always sell it cheaper than you can, and when you’ve got the overhead of a store and online retailers had cost advantages and volume advantages, there is no way to compete with that. Cellular phones are a generic item, they were much better off selling things where people wanted the hands-on experience of trying it, listening to it, fiddling with it, before they made a buying decision.
I will miss them, but then the Radio Shack I will miss has been gone for two decades already.