Despite new branding efforts over the past two years, national electronics chain RadioShack filed for Chapter 11 bankruptcy in March and closed 200 stores, with the further promise of evaluating whether to close the remaining 1,300. While the three stores on St. Thomas remain open for now, the signs don’t look hopeful.
All three St. Thomas locations have been advertising massive sales and as shelves have emptied, they have not been restocked. While local representatives have said they could not officially comment on the situation, the chain’s chief executive officer, Dene Rogers, has publicly confirmed that RadioShack is going through the bankruptcy process for the second time since 2015.
According to internet news reports, the chain tried to stay afloat by re-branding with wireless carrier Sprint, cutting operating expenses by 23 percent, installing FedEx drop off and pick up areas in select stores and, among other things, selling its own brand of headphones and speakers. Despite the efforts, officials said sales still lagged.
“For a number of reasons, most notably the surprisingly poor performance of mobility sales, especially over recent months, we have concluded that the Chapter 11 process represents the best path forward for the company,” Rogers said in a prepared statement that has been published by outlets ranging from Forbes to Bloomberg. “We will continue to work with our advisors and stakeholders to preserve as many jobs as possible while maximizing value for our creditors.”
According to the statement, General Wireless – a hedge fund affiliate that bought RadioShack in 2015 – has listed its assets and liabilities in the range of $100 million to $500 million and has so far shuttered 200 stores and, according to the Wall Street Journal, laid of “dozens of headquarters employees.”
Still, the company has also said it is looking at keeping some stores open on an ongoing basis, though it released no indication on which stores will close and which won’t.
Radio Shack “and its advisors are currently exploring all available strategic alternatives to maximize value for creditors, including the possibility of keeping stores open on an ongoing basis,” Rogers said in the statement announcing the bankruptcy filing.