Struggling RadioShack turns 2 RVA stores into clearance stores

Updated: Jan. 21, 2015 at 5:19 PM EST
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Two Richmond-area RadioShack stores are now "clearance sale" stores, as the electronics retailer continues to struggle to survive. 

Last year's $4 million RadioShack Super Bowl ad featured 1980s icons cleaning out a store, revealing a newly remodeled store. RadioShack stock surged 12 percent the next day, but the rise didn't last. Just weeks later, RadioShack announced it would close 1,100 stores, or one-fifth of its locations. Most of the closures never happened reportedly because its lenders didn't agree. 

Now business analysts, like University of Richmond professor Tom Arnold, say the company may be near bankruptcy because its remodeled image didn't quite work. 

"I don't think the RadioShack stores have changed much in two or three decades. I think they may still be in the 80s, quite frankly," says Arnold.

A RadioShack employee tells us two local stores on Bell Creek Road in Mechanicsville and Azalea Avenue in Richmond are offering blowout clearance sales on the entire store. 

"Essentially what they're doing," said Dr. Arnold, "is they're trying to generate cash."

RadioShack has about two dozen stores in Central Virginia and the corporate office wouldn't say if any would close.

"We don't have any information to share at this time regarding specific locations or markets that may be impacted by any closures," the company said in a statement. They did not answer our questions about the local clearance sales. 

Store closures, if they happen, would mean a loss of jobs and a loss of business for suppliers. 

"You have the indirect impacts," explained Arnold. "All the suppliers who bring product in and product out."

But the company did announce a cut to its marketing budget last year. So, another Super Bowl ad is not likely. Many analysts say last year's was a $4 million dollar gamble that didn't pay off.

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