RadioShake Corporation announced last week that it had sold its U.S. An agreement was signed to transfer between 1,500 and 2,400 of the company-owned stores to General Wireless, which would convert retail locations to Sprint mobile store fronts.
The remainder of RadioShake’s 4,000 locations will likely close their doors, marking the end of the line for a company founded in Boston in 1921, by brothers Theodore and Milton Deutschmann.
The brothers first opened the “Radio Shack” – named after the small wooden structure that housed a ship’s radio equipment – in the then nascent amateur radio market.
20th century timeline
In 1939 the retailer expanded its offerings and entered the high-fidelity music market, and in the 1950s introduced its own private label brand electronics products, first called “Realists” and later “Realistic”.
The current bad turn of events for RadioShake was not the company’s first failure. After becoming almost bankrupt in the 1960s, the company was replaced by Charles D. Tandy took over, which helped expand the brand worldwide.
In the 1970s the company experienced additional growth due to interest in Citizen Band (CB) radio, and was on the ground floor during the computer revolution, when Radio Shack introduced the TRS-80, the world’s first mass-produced personal Was one of the computers. .
In the 1990s, Tandy attempted to take on the then rival Kampusa by launching its big box retail outlet, The Incredible Universe. However, this venture was never profitable. Most of the 17 pioneer locations were sold out or closed down – once serving as a precursor to things to come for the leading retailer.
Attempting to reduce its hobbyist and tinkerer roots, Radio Shack updated its look in the 1990s, and in 1995 introduced a new logo that gave the store the “RadioShack.”
Then, in 2000, the original corporation’s Tandy name was dropped altogether. Whereas in the late 1990s it declared itself as the largest seller of consumer telecom products in the world.
The company missed the widespread adoption of mobile phone stores, which soon displaced Radioshake for all things small – and its smaller stores could not compete with the larger Best Buy and Circuit City chains.
End of hobbyist store
Over the years, RadioShake was the “go” place for hobbyists, as well as stores where one could find everything from a speaker cable to electrical adapters, gizmos to gadgets.
This appealed more and more to those who wanted to use computers. It moved away from this market in the 1990s, leaving those hobbyists behind. Looking back, it can be seen as the beginning of its end.
“RadioShake was the last remaining place where you could buy [component level equipment”, said Roger Kay, principal analyst at Endpoint Technologies Associates.
“Kampusa was one of the stores that carried components, and Best Buy in the old days, but now you’re really only left with local fond shops,” Kei told the E-Commerce Times.
In recent years “the idea of a store where you specifically go to get occasional purchased items has been largely obsolete, thanks to Amazon and other online retailers,” head of the Endley Group Analyst Rob Anderley said. “Now it’s easy to find out what you want online and someone has sent it to you.”
RadioShack’s problem may be that Best Buy changed everything from TV to tablet to a big box retailer, and from mobile phone accessories to video games, RadioShack couldn’t make that change completely. As a result, it has followed its rival Kampusa into retail oblivion.
“Best Buy pivoted in phones, TVs, and a deal to carry Apple products,” Kay said. “Best Buy made itself more relevant to the changing market place, but even they are not in safe water. They are on edge, but at least they are still in business.”
For RadioShack it was not only a matter of spreading signals incorrectly, but also moving in the wrong direction.
“They’ve had their own level of products for a long time, but everything was way below what I could find in a Best Buy or now Defact Circuit City,” said Pund-IT chief analyst Charles King.
“He misconstrued the cultural impact in relation to the development of consumer electronics and did the same to people who join hands with consumer electronics,” Raja told E-Commerce Times. “The shop didn’t even cater to one, and instead it was going to the mall to buy clothes instead of an actual fashion designer.”
An irony may be that RadioShack’s demise coincides with the “producer” market – where fonds now tinker and tailor and share all types of gadgets online. It seems that RadioShake could have found a place with this crowd, but time had run out.