Sprint Corp. (S) is getting ready to open in more than 1,700 RadioShack Corporation (RSH) stores from coast to coast. Retail is increasingly important to wireless, as users want to see and touch new devices. They want to see how they work and how they look. That’s why I think this is a big opportunity for Sprint.
As you know, RadioShack is currently in bankruptcy. And Sprint was just approved by the bankruptcy court to move into more than 1,700 RadioShack stores.
This is good news for the third largest wireless carrier. RadioShack of course closed many stores several years ago. Today, they need a really big new retail push, and this could be just what the doctor ordered. This will give Sprint the chance to dramatically increase retail store frontage, virtually overnight.
Not the End for RadioShack
When RadioShack filed for bankruptcy, we thought that was it for this historic but tired brand. However, looking at a picture of new storefront, it looks like they will still be around.
The storefront sign will have a very large word Sprint, and a smaller word RadioShack below. We’ll have to wait and see what the RadioShack portion of these stores will look like. So it does look like RadioShack will survive, but in a smaller form factor.
Sprint’s Aggressive Rollout
It looks like Sprint is planning a very aggressive rollout of these new storefronts as a way to energize their sales and customer engagement. I think these new co-branded stores will be very important to Sprint as they work toward a rapid turnaround and growth. In recent months, Sprint has done a good job of punching its way back onto the map. Their latest offer is paying all switching costs for new customers.
Sprint and RadioShack in Each Store
So it sounds like there will be two stores in each location - a Sprint branded space and a RadioShack branded space. Word is that these new stores will launch soon, on April 10. That’s one very quick turnaround. CEO of Sprint Marcelo Claure has a big job ahead as he looks to reinvigorate the Sprint brand. Claure seems to be hitting the right cords so far with new plans and offers, and this retail expansion with RadioShack stores looks like another potentially strong move for Sprint.
As for RadioShack, Ron Garriques has joined the company and will be leading them through their new jumpstart. Trying to revive a failing brand is a very difficult job. There are no guarantees...all we can do is hope for the best.
If Sprint and RadioShack together can ignite the flames of growth in these retail stores, this could be very beneficial to both of them. However, they are not tied together. One can succeed and the other struggle.
Luckily for Sprint, the company's future does not depend on the success of these stores, but if successful, this will be a big shot in the arm for the wireless carrier.
On the other hand, RadioShack does depend on the success of these stores. Can they reinvigorate their tired, but well-known brand?
What will these stores look like in the next few quarters?
That is the big question. We’ll have to wait and see. We’ll also have to watch how Sprint advertises and markets their new and very large retail presence, what new plans they introduce into the competitive marketplace, and how successfully they compete in the wireless space.
I am looking forward to visiting several stores and writing about what I see and think about them. Let’s hope we are all impressed with both the Sprint side and the RadioShack side. That would be the best scenario, since I would like to see them both succeed going forward.
Equities.com columnist Jeff Kagan is a Wireless Analyst, Telecom Analyst, Industry Analyst and consultant. He shares thoughts on the changing industry, which he's been following for 25 years. He follows what's hot, what's not, why and what's coming next. Email him atjeff@jeffKAGAN.com
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