Magnacca took the helm at RadioShack in February and announced his strategy to turn around the company on July 1. The strategy runs the gamut from changing the company's colors and updating its logo to reimagining its stores and changing its product branding and assortment.
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Transformations on any level are expensive undertakings, just ask J.C. Penney. Since the new plans were revealed, some investors are questioning RadioShack's liquidity, but Magnacca says cash isn't an issue.
"Our cash statement is very strong, and as you know we have a payment coming up and we're not at all concerned we can pay that off in cash," Magnacca said. "We have been talking to bankers about the opportunity about refinancing some of that debt."
Reaction to the reinvention
Wall Street analysts do think the new format stores look better, but aren't sure it's enough to truly make RadioShack competitive against rivals like Best Buy or Amazon or big-box retailers like Wal-Mart, Target and Costco. Still, investors love a comeback story and some are buying into RadioShack's plan and the retailer is garnering new attention. The shares are up 48 percent in 2013.
In a note to investors, Janney Capital Markets analyst David Strasser said he likes the new store format but doesn't think it's a complete panacea for the retailer's troubles.
"[We think] it provides some strategic answers and a new direction, but new store formats are a long way from fixing what ails companies, especially one with 4,300 stores around the country," Strasser said.
In a way, Chukumba said, he and others have been waiting for RadioShack's demise for years and years, but it's never happened.
"I'm slightly optimistic given the fact that they do have a Joe Magnacca there," Chukumba said. "He has very strong experience [particularly from his time] at the Duane Reade drugstore chain under Walgreen. He developed the private-label program. He developed a customer loyalty program. So the fact that they were able to hire someone of his caliber is somewhat telling."
Shoppers at the new concept store on New York's Upper West Side do seem impressed with what they found inside from the products to the new, less cluttered format.