RadioShack might be forced into bankruptcy

Years of lackluster sales, along with mismanagement, are apparently taking a serious toll on RadioShack, which is one of America’s oldest electronics retailers. According to news reports, RadioShack’s latest regulatory filings acknowledge the possibility that RadioShack could be forced into bankruptcy if it can’t get help shoring up its finances. The company only has around $30.5 million in case on hand… less than $10,000 for each of its more than four thousand stores.

RadioShack traces its origins to a single store in Boston, founded in 1921 by two brothers selling equipment for and to ham radio operators. RadioShacks are a common sight in malls and strip malls throughout America. The company has struggled to compete, however, with the likes of Amazon, BestBuy, Fry’s, and Newegg, which offer much wider selections of equipment.

Part of RadioShack’s problem may be that it doesn’t have what people need. The last few times one of us has gone into RadioShack, we’ve come out empty-handed and disappointed. That included an instance last year when NPI’s executive director was hunting for a USB dialup modem to connect to a computer in a location with no wireless service or DSL/cable. RadioShack, surprisingly, didn’t have such an adapter in stock. Thankfully, a nearby office supply store did.

If RadioShack wants to survive, it should ensure it is stocking hard-to-find items that people might need in a pinch. For instance, it could easily offer a wide range of flash drives and memory cards at reasonable prices, along with film, generic lens caps, and of course, unusual but crucial items like dialup USB adapters.