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Industryweek 8211 Radio Shack

Radio Shack Files Chapter 11 Bankruptcy

Feb. 6, 2015
Radio Shack jumped into the computer world with both feet in 1977, debuting the TRS-80, the first mass-produced personal computer. A decade later, it would become one of the first mobile phone retailers.

After 94 years, consumer electronics retailer Radio Shack is calling it a day. The company filed for Chapter 11 bankruptcy protection and says it will sell most of its stores.

Radio Shack has been struggling for some time and several attempts at rebuilding the brand have failed.

As part of the deal, hedge fund Standard General would get between 1,500 and 2,400 of the nearly 4,100 stores Radio Shack owns. The fund led a rescue plan for the company last year. Radio Shack would then partner with Sprint to operate as many as 1,750 of the remaining locations.

Stores not fitting into future plans will be liquidated. However, as many as 900 domestic and international franchises are not part of the deal.

It all began in 1921 as a mail-order retailer for ham-radio operators. It was bought by Tandy Corp. in 1963, and grew be the go-to place for everything electronics from stereo equipment, C.B. radios and computers to mobile phones and remote control vehicles.

It jumped into the computer world with both feet in 1977, debuting the TRS-80, the first mass-produced personal computer. A decade later, it would become one of the first mobile phone retailers.

It also had everything the do-it-yourselfer needed featuring a huge selection of adapters, Y-cables, wire, splicing tape and connectors to fit even the most obscure plug.

The Radio Shack staff stood out from other retailers. A knowledgeable group, often knowing what the customer was looking even when the customer didn’t. They were also some of the first to ask shoppers their phone numbers and zip codes when making a purchase in the earliest days of high-tech data collection.

Unable to keep up with online retailers, and stores that sold similar products, Radio Shack struggled. Several efforts to turn things around failed and the company has posted 11 straight quarters of losses.

Radio Shack employs more than 27,000 people worldwide. The New York Stock Exchange stopped trading for the company Monday and it will be de-listed.

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