A little girls' toy that hopes to tap into the hot construction trend. A robotic ball that's controlled remotely by wireless devices, and syncs to games downloaded in the app store. A camera lens that can snap onto a user's smartphone, or detach and sync to their device for aerial shots. Could one of these gadgets be the Christmas miracle RadioShack is hoping for?
With questions already swirling about whether the electronics retailer will make it to—let alone through—the holiday season, RadioShack's holiday preview offered a peek into how the company is reshaping its business.
Although it showed some promising toys—including Roominate, a do-it-yourself wiring kit targeted to girls that will also be sold at stores such as Wal-Mart and Nordstrom—noticeably absent from the vendors promoting their products on-site were hot tech brands such as Apple and Beats by Dre.
Despite the company emphasizing in its most recent earnings call that it's a top-five Apple retailer, RadioShack overlooked the recently released, red-hot iPhone 6 and 6 Plus and accessories for the smartphone at the preview. Instead, it promoted its private label Auvio speakers and power banks—in line with its push toward more private-label products—as well as the Sphero 2.0 robot toy.
It highlighted Kodak's Pixpro smart lens, and stayed true to its do-it-yourself foundation by highlighting LittleBits, a kit of hardware modules that teach consumers about electronics, and allow them to build simple solutions for their homes.
A spokeswoman said the event was meant to focus on RadioShack's new toys, services and its branded products that will be in stores this holiday.
But will the bet pay off?
Although representatives for Roominate and Kodak spoke highly of their partnership with the retailer, Wedbush analyst Michael Pachter, who has a $0 price target on the company, sounded a more sour note.
He said that regardless of whether RadioShack indeed taps into a new trend, its biggest issue remains that it has no money to get word out that it's selling these hot items.
"They have no way of making their core customers pay attention to new stuff," he said.
Analysts and debt ratings agencies over the past few months have expressed doubt that RadioShack will succeed in its turnaround strategy, with some predicting it will not even have enough cash to make it to the holiday season. Last week the company said in an SEC filing that , now its largest stakeholder at nearly 10 percent, about ways to improve its liquidity ahead of the holidays.
RadioShack ended the second quarter with total liquidity of $182.5 million. It posted a net loss of $137.4 million in the same period. RadioShack shares fell about 2 percent Wednesday, to near 97 cents.
But earlier this month, Moody's senior analyst Mickey Chadha said additional cash won't fix RadioShack's problems, as evidenced by the fact that it refinanced its debt and boosted its liquidity position about one year ago, and it's already back in the same position.
"There's just nothing there that makes you want to come back in," Pachter said.