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Dave Zajac Record-Journal
A man walks into RadioShack at 850 N. Colony Rd. in Wallingford, Wednesday, March 5, 2014. RadioShack representatives announced Tuesday that the chain will close 1,100 under-performing stores as it struggles to turn both its brand and profits around. The Texas-based company is not naming the affected stores. | Dave Zajac / Record-Journal

RadioShack fates unclear

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It still wasn’t clear Wednesday which of the 68 RadioShack stores in Connecticut would be closing following the company’s announcement this week that 1,100 under-performing stores would be shuttered nationwide.

“RadioShack will maintain market coverage as part of the plan, with over 4,000 stores in the RadioShack footprint,” a spokesman for the Texas-based company said. “We will have information to share in the future.”

The hobby and electronics chain has stores at Westfield Meriden mall and also in Cheshire, Wallingford, Southington and North Haven. The number of stores in Connecticut is modest compared to more than 200 in states such as Texas, Illinois, New York, Pennsylvania and California.

RadioShack recently reported a net loss of $191.4 million or $1.90 per share last quarter, compared with a loss of $63.3 million, or 63 cents a share last year.

Revenue dropped 20 percent to $935.4 billion and same-store sales slumped 19 percent.

The closings require lender approval and are subject to landlord negotiations.

A spokeswoman for Westfield Meriden mall said she has not had any communication with the chain. A person who identified himself as a store manager at the mall said he had not heard from RadioShack either.

RadioShack is trying to reshape its image as a more modern brand that can attract younger shoppers. Its recent Super Bowl ad poked fun at it’s 1980’s image and announced its “Do it Together” campaign.

But some say the rebranding might be too little too late.

Sean Moore, president of the MidState Chamber of Commerce, said throwaway technology contributed to RadioShack’s troubles.

“For years, RadioShack was the go-to place for supplies and parts for the hobbyists and do-it-yourselfers,” Moore said. “The two big game changers were the floods of new competition and the significant price reductions on consumer electronics. RadioShack thrived in a time when there were no Apple Stores or mobile phone stores and no Internet.”

In 1990, a decent PC was around $3,000 and soon thereafter computer enthusiasts would upgrade to add a larger hard drive or more memory, Moore said. Now a PC is about a tenth of the price with significantly more processing power.

“Lower pricing of electronic consumer goods means lower profit margins and a ‘throw it away’ mentality,” Moore said. “Why fix it when you can get the newest model for around the same price?”

mgodin@record-journal.com (203) 317-2255 Twitter: @Cconnbiz



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