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RadioShack Files For Bankruptcy; Sprint To Share Space With Some Stores


RadioShack has filed for bankruptcy and the company plans to close most of its stores, as NPR's Aarti Shahani reports.

AARTI SHAHANI, BYLINE: RadioShack is not shutting down everywhere. The company is going to salvage as many as 1,750 stores by selling leases to and sharing space with Sprint, one of its biggest creditors. Under the agreement, the mobile carrier would effectively operate a store within a store and co-brand. Michael Pachter, an analyst with Wedbush Securities, says the physical space is of limited use.

MICHAEL PACHTER: The only thing I can see Sprint having a need to do is expand its prepaid presence. Prepaid is the one area of mobile that's continuing to grow.

SHAHANI: RadioShack started back in 1921 and sold ham radio equipment. Over the years, it made a name for itself as the electronic specialty shop. But in the Internet age, revenues fell. In 2013, the company tried to change its image by redesigning its stores to make them less of a maze and more of an experience like the Apple store. It didn't work. And Pachter says it's a lesson for others trying to compete with the Internet.

PACHTER: Every CEO of any retailer should look in the mirror, get really introspective and think, what value does my retail outlet, you know, offer to the consumer?

SHAHANI: RadioShack listed assets of $1.2 billion and liabilities of $1.39 billion in its bankruptcy petition. Aarti Shahani, NPR News.

MONTAGNE: You're listening to MORNING EDITION from NPR News. Transcript provided by NPR, Copyright NPR.

Aarti Shahani is a correspondent for NPR. Based in Silicon Valley, she covers the biggest companies on earth. She is also an author. Her first book, Here We Are: American Dreams, American Nightmares (out Oct. 1, 2019), is about the extreme ups and downs her family encountered as immigrants in the U.S. Before journalism, Shahani was a community organizer in her native New York City, helping prisoners and families facing deportation. Even if it looks like she keeps changing careers, she's always doing the same thing: telling stories that matter.