RadioShack’s problem seen in my last purchase there

Retail chain announces it will close more than a thousand stores

RadioShack announced this morning that it is closing 1,100 stores, or roughly 20% of the struggling chain's retail outlets.

From a CNN report:

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Radio Shack also reported that sales at stores open at least a year fell 19% in the last quarter, which included the important holiday shopping period. It blamed the drop on traffic declines and weak sales of mobile devices such as cell phones. Its net loss in the period roughly tripled.

Radio Shack has one of the largest footprints of any U.S. retailer, with about 5,200 locations in the United States. Company filings say that more than 90% of the U.S. population lives or works within minutes of a Radio Shack location. By comparison, Wal-Mart (WMT, Fortune 500), the nation's largest retailer, has about 3,700 U.S. stores, while Best Buy (BBY, Fortune 500), one of Radio Shack's major competitors in the electronics sector, has 1,400 U.S. locations.

Radio Shack has 27,500 employees worldwide. The number of jobs that will be lost in the store closings was not disclosed, nor were the locations.

RadioShack recently hired a new CEO who speaks bravely of a turnaround and it made something of a splash during this year's Super Bowl, albeit with a commercial that poked fun at the company. In short, it's difficult to see this ending well long-term.

And that thought got me thinking about the last time I was in a Radio Shack, which was last fall. I had to buy a phone. Not just any phone, mind you, but a special kind of phone that someone had told me RadioShack carried.

And carry it they did. RadioShack came through with a big-button, landline phone for my 88-year-old father. 

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