RadioShack may soon go into bankruptcy protection--a move that could mark the end of its existence as a national retail chain. And the company is considering selling half its store leases to Sprint (NYSE: S) and shutting down its remaining stores, according to a Bloomberg report. Meanwhile, online retailing giant Amazon (NASDAQ: AMZN) is considering purchasing some of RadioShack's stores once it files for bankruptcy in a bid to bolster its physical retail presence, according to a separate Bloomberg report.
RadioShack currently owns 4,000 company-operated U.S. stores, and Sprint is thinking of buying anywhere from 1,300 to 2,000 locations, the report noted. Under a potential deal with Sprint, which was first rumored last month, the stores sold to Sprint would operate under the carrier's name, meaning RadioShack would cease business as a stand-alone retailer, the report said.
However, no deal has been reached yet, Bloomberg reported. The report added that Sprint and RadioShack also have discussed co-branding the stores. RadioShack might also try to keep its name alive as a store-within-a-store concept involving wireless carriers. Additionally, another bidder might emerge that would buy RadioShack and keep it operating.
RadioShack declined to comment, according to Bloomberg. Sprint has declined to comment on the rumors.
Sprint CEO Marcelo Claure said at an investor conference in January that the company would be expanding its operations, in part by adding retail locations. "This is a year in which we intend to grow our distribution dramatically," Claure said. "You are going to see the opening of more and more Sprint stores as this is one area that we work on."
Sprint has around 1,100 company-owned retail stores, a smaller footprint than the more than 2,000 owned by AT&T Mobility (NYSE: T) and Verizon Wireless' (NYSE: VZ) 1,700 stores.
Meanwhile, Bloomberg reported that Amazon has considered using the RadioShack stores as showcases for its tablets, e-readers and smartphones, as well as potential pickup and drop-off centers for online customers.
- see these two separate Bloomberg articles
- see this Bloomberg special report
- see this WSJ article (sub. req.)
Report: RadioShack considering selling some of its stores to Sprint
MVNO shakeout: RadioShack discontinues wireless service, Spot Mobile shuts down
RadioShack to close up to 1,100 'underperforming' stores
From T-Mobile to RadioShack: The best and worst wireless commercials at Super Bowl XLVIII
Report: Best Buy accounts for 13% of all mobile retail sales, Apple follows at 11%
Verizon unveils 'Destination' retail store to highlight LTE-enabled devices