RadioShack stores get a new roommate: Sprint
Your local RadioShack may have just sprouted a Sprint store.
On Friday, Sprint started opening 1,435 co-branded Sprint-RadioShack stores across the U.S. in a move that will expand the retail presence for the nation’s fourth-largest wireless carrier.
Sprint (S) is launching the “store-within-a-store” retail model it announced in February when RadioShack (RSH) filed for bankruptcy and sold more than 1,700 of its stores to General Wireless, an affiliate of hedge fund Standard General. As part of the General Wireless deal, Sprint agreed to rent space in a large chunk of those stores, where it will sell mobile devices and wireless phone plans across all Sprint brands, while the rest of the stores will continue to operate under the RadioShack name.
Friday’s openings coincide with the launch of the new Samsung Galaxy S6 smartphone, which goes on sale today.
Sprint will have a larger logo and marketing presence than RadioShack at the co-branded storefronts, though the telecom will occupy about one-third of the retail space at each location. Sprint will hire roughly 3,500 new employees to fill the new Sprint-RadioShack locations, the company said on Thursday. Nearly 7,500 RadioShack employees will continue to work in the co-branded stores.
The 94-year old RadioShack filed for bankruptcy two months ago after posting its 11th-straight quarterly loss and piling up roughly $1.4 billion in debt. Once a leading electronics retailer, the company continued to cede market share to online retailers such as Amazon (AMZN) in recent years.