RadioShack files for bankruptcy again, closing 200 stores

Electronics retailer RadioShack has filed for its second bankruptcy in two years and will close about 200 of its remaining 1,500 stores.

The Fort Worth, Tex.-based company previously filed for bankruptcy in 2015, which resulted in about 2,400 store closings. Subsequently, General Wireless, a joint venture of hedge fund Standard General and Sprint, acquired the chain and ran 1,700 stores.

In a Chapter 11 petition filed Wednesday in the U.S Bankruptcy Court in Delaware, General Wireless stated it planned to close 187 stores by March 13 and close about another 365 stores, or transfer their ownership to Sprint.

The remaining 1,000 stores will remain open and the company will continue evaluating options on them during the bankruptcy process. Also open: RadioShack.com, which promoted a clearance sale on its home page.

The first Radio Shack store opened in Boston in 1921, selling ham radios and other radio equipment, according to Twice Magazine's "96 Years of RadioShack History."

Over the years, RadioShack established itself as a neighborhood destination for loudspeakers, mobile phones, satellite TV, batteries and toys. It also sold the first mass-marketed, fully-assembled PC, the TRS-80, for which Bill Gates wrote an operating system.

As recently as 2013, the company was the eighth-largest consumer electronics dealer, according to Twice.

By 2014, RadioShack was losing $200 million annually in the mobility business alone, according to the bankruptcy filing. The company, which has been run as a privately-held company since the 2015 bankruptcy, currently employs 5,900.

“Over the course of the past two years, our talented, dedicated team has worked relentlessly in an effort to revitalize the Company and the RadioShack brand, while providing outstanding service to our customers. We greatly appreciate their hard work and dedication," said RadioShack CEO and President Dene Rogers in a statement.

Last year, RadioShack reduced operating expenses by 23% while increasing gross profit by 8%, Rogers said. The chain sold more than one million RadioShack headphones and speakers in the U.S., while also adding FedEx services in 140 stores.

But the Sprint partnership, arranged in early 2015 to set up co-branded "Sprint Team at RadioShack" stores within RadioShacks, did not -- as hoped -- fuel a turnaround. Sprint sales dropped during the fourth quarter of 2016 and "it became apparent" RadioShack would not receive expected revenue from mobile commissions, the company said in the filing.

"For a number of reasons, most notably the surprisingly poor performance of mobility sales, especially over recent months, we have concluded that the Chapter 11 process represents the best path forward for the Company," Rogers said. "We will continue to work with our advisors and stakeholders to preserve as many jobs as possible while maximizing value for our creditors.”

In its bankruptcy filing, RadioShack stated that its assets totaled between $100 million and $500 million, as did its debts. Among the debts: $62.9 million in trade debt, liens of $25.5 million and $39.7 million, and unpaid rent of $10.2 million.

USA Today


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