Sprint set to open 1,435 co-branded locations with RadioShack tomorrow

Sprint (NYSE: S) is wasting no time expanding its retail presence via a partnership with the newly restructured RadioShack. Sprint said that tomorrow it will more than double its company-owned retail footprint by opening 1,435 Sprint/RadioShack stores.

According to Sprint, all 1,435 Sprint/RadioShack stores will be open tomorrow and will offer devices and services from Sprint and Sprint's Boost Mobile and Virgin Mobile brands. However, it will take some time to rebrand and refurbish the interiors of the Sprint stores.

"The rebranding and build-out of the store-in-a-store concept will take some time to be complete in all the stores and we will be doing that in waves," Sprint spokesman Scott Sloat told FierceWireless. He said the carrier expects to fully complete that work in the second half of the year.

Importantly, Sloat said Sprint does not plan to close any existing Sprint retail locations "since we picked these locations based on among other things our existing store footprint."

Before the transaction, Sprint had around 1,100 company-owned retail stores, a smaller retail footprint than any of its rivals. AT&T Mobility (NYSE: T) owns more than 2,000 retail stores. In February on the company's last earnings conference call, Sprint CEO Marcelo Claure said Sprint had around 500 or 600 fewer stores than T-Mobile US (NYSE:TMUS) and around 3,000 fewer than Verizon Wireless (NYSE: VZ), according to Seeking Alpha transcript of his remarks. Verizon owns around 1,700 of its own stores but also has a large number of dealers.

Under RadioShack's restructuring plan, which was approved by a bankruptcy judge last week, Sprint will command around a third of the space in the RadioShack locations, and will use its own retail employees to sell phones and service. According to the plan, Sprint will pick up the tab for the overhead cost, and will distribute commissions on its merchandise and help with advertising. Additionally, at most of those stores, Sprint's logo will be more prominent than the RadioShack logo.

Under its bankruptcy restructuring, RadioShack was acquired by General Wireless, an affiliate owned by hedge fund Standard General. General Wireless acquired 1,743 RadioShack stores, a much smaller footprint than the roughly 4,000 RadioShack operated last year before it entered bankruptcy protection. The new Sprint/RadioShack stores will exclusively sell mobile devices across Sprint's postpaid and prepaid portfolio, along with other RadioShack products and accessories.

Sprint said the expansion of its retail footprint means it will add around 3,500 new jobs, and the companies say there will be significant opportunities for them to invest in local communities. Over the next few months, Sprint said it will actively recruit workers to fill full- and part-time retail positions.

For more:
- see this release

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