RadioShack Corp. is preparing to shut down the almost-century-old retail chain in a bankruptcy deal that would sell about half its store leases to Sprint Corp. and close the rest, according to people with knowledge of the discussions.
The locations sold to Sprint would operate under the wireless carrier’s name, meaning RadioShack would cease to exist as a stand-alone retailer, said the people, who asked not to be identified because the talks aren’t public.
The negotiations could still break down without a deal being reached, or the terms could change. Sprint and RadioShack also have discussed co-branding the stores, two of the people said. It’s also possible that another bidder could emerge that would buy RadioShack and keep it operating, the people said.
RadioShack had its time, and served millions of us (me included) very well during that time. It had a great mix of nerdy products and nerdy expertise — at a location usually not very far from you. But now I can get an even wider selection of nerdy stuff, and even nerdier expertise, without ever leaving the comfort of my desk chair. With one exception of when I just had to have a headphone minijack-to-RCA-left-right-splitter, I don’t think I’ve set foot inside a RadioShack since the end of the 20th century. And it just isn’t possible to keep a retail chain going on once-in-a-decade purchases of $2 cables.
Radio Shack — even the name shouts “1933!” — was the 20th century’s nerd shopping Mecca, but the 20th century is long over.