If you were still paying attention after the first quarter of Sunday’s Super Bowl, and not in the kitchen preparing or gorging on snacks, you might have seen one of the few mildly amusing ads to air during the game. It featured a RadioShack being dismantled by various ’80s icons and emerging from the ashes as a relevant store that doesn’t just sell batteries and cables you can get much cheaper online. Well, according to a new report, the first part of that ad will soon be coming true for hundreds of Shack locations, except it won’t be Cliff Clavin and Hulk Hogan clearing the shelves.
The Wall Street Journal’s sources say that the Texas-based electronics retailer is planning to shutter 500 of its 4,500 stores in the months to come. No specific locations or even regions have been identified.
The company had previously said that it may close some locations, but with the idea that these stores would re-open in higher-traffic areas, thus leaving the total number of stores the same. However, the Journal story indicates that the closures would likely be more permanent.
Facing some $625 million in debt, RadioShack recently secured $835 million in loans that would get it out of the red and give it some money to revamp its brand and its stores.
RadioShack has made multiple efforts to shake its dated image, including a failed effort to get shoppers to refer to it as The Shack. The latest stab at changing its image involved dumping many of the older-generation products it had sold for decades to the DIY tech crowd.
As this recent viral sensation demonstrated, so much of what RadioShack used to sell has been replaced by multifunction smartphones.
Additionally, some of the retailer’s locations were briefly involved with Amazon, which used the RS stores as a place for customers. The company ditched that partnership back in Sept. 2013, saying it was no longer in line with RadioShack’s plans for the future.
While we appreciate — and maybe even had a giggle — at RadioShack’s self-effacing Super Bowl ad, we wonder if the retailer can compete against both online and larger big box retailers, all of whom carry the exact same products, at the same or lower prices.