Although the locations would be rebranded as Sprint, on both the storefronts and in marketing materials, the stores would continue to sell some RadioShack products, services and accessories. Sprint spokesman Doug Duvall said it's yet to be determined whether RadioShack's nameplate would live on in the co-branded stores.
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Retail experts, however, cautioned that it would be a risky move to keep the electronics chain's name associated with these new locations, given the beating its brand has taken over the past few years.
"The anchor that's been dragging this company down is the name," said Jack Trout, president of Trout & Partners marketing firm. "Talk about locking yourself to an ancient technology."
Ken Perkins, president of Retail Metrics, sounded a similar tone.
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"It's become the butt end of a lot of jokes, unfortunately," he said. "They knew they had a problem with their image and their outdatedness and they just never could get beyond that," Perkins said.
Although changing the name on the door should "immediately provide some sort of a lift," that alone won't be enough to deliver a long-term boost to the stores, Perkins said. The shops will also need to to carry a more exciting, modern product selection, starting "first and foremost" with expanded mobile offerings.
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That could include wireless gadgets, tablets and cellphone accessories.
Mickey Chadha, senior analyst at Moody's, added that the high-margin business of cellphone repair could continue to be an attractive offering for shoppers. Before it filed for bankruptcy, RadioShack was in the process of rolling out its Fix It Here program, which was "driving incremental high-margin growth," CEO Joe Magnacca said on the firm's most recent earnings call.