RadioShack Executive Wants You To Know That RadioShack Is No Longer RadioShack

Image courtesy of (Mike Mozart)

When I mention RadioShack, which I occasionally do for some reason, people often express surprise that the electronics chain still exists. That’s because they either assume it had shut down years ago, or didn’t know that some of the chain’s stores survived its recent bankruptcy. Only that’s what the people running this new RadioShack want us all to know: the new RadioShack isn’t the continuation of the old RadioShack. Maybe they shouldn’t have kept the name after all.

It’s legally true that the company now operating stores with “RadioShack” signs on them is not the same one that filed for bankruptcy protection back in February. “We are a separate, new company that acquired some assets from the now-defunct estate that was RadioShack. It did not reemerge from bankruptcy,” chief marketing officer Michael Tatelman explained to Dallas Business Journal. While purchasing the RadioShack name and keeping almost two thousand stores might create the impression among shoppers that the company had simply survived bankruptcy, legally it’s a different company. The head marketer wants customers to know that it’s not the same retail chain in practice, either.

How’s that? The biggest difference is that since the stores are run in partnership with Sprint, you’ll find only that carrier’s phones and Sprint mini-stores available. They do plan to continue carrying cables, parts, and batteries that have always been the thing that customers stop by RadioShack for every few years.

The CMO’s comparison is to a convenience store for electronics, and that might be a good way to think about what RadioShack wants to be: you’ll stop by the corner store when you really need milk and Saltines: you might pay a little more, and the selection will be smaller, but you’ll be really happy that you didn’t have to go out of your way for Saltines.

They’re hoping that while you stop in for a new electric adapter for your cordless phone, you notice the nice selection of drones, or a major headphone brand that wasn’t ready for national big-box retailers but that RadioShack was happy to stock.

Will it work? RadioShack will find out in the coming months and years.

Year in review: Three things that have changed since RadioShack’s bankruptcy [Dallas Business Review]