RadioShack Labs speeds inventions to market

RadioShack (NYSE:RSH) is trying to regain the title of America's technology store with a new initiative, RadioShack Labs, aimed at bringing new innovations to market.

The program is a collaboration to support inventors and startups, and provide a path from concept directly to RadioShack stores. It's a partnership with PCH Access, which helps startups navigate logistics and bring products to market.

The plan is to implement a direct-to-store model for select products, reducing inventory requirements and increasing inventory turn in stores, according to the company. It also provides marketing support in addition to retail representation.

RadioShack plans to have these products in a dedicated space in-store by the end of the year.

"It's long been our belief that innovation and collaboration go hand-in-hand. As we transform RadioShack, it's important that we simplify and streamline the channels that encourage inventors and entrepreneurs to join us in the retail environment," said Joe Magnacca, CEO of RadioShack. "We see so many exciting consumer products coming from startups and we want these differentiated products in our stores. Traditionally, big retailing requires big inventory, but we can improve our supply chain and be a more nimble partner."

But RadioShack is not limiting the program to products represented by PCH Access, and has opened Labs to all applicants. Submitted information from inventors will be reviewed and feedback offered if it's a potential fit for the retailer.

The goal is to identify dozens of new products per year, and to use the PCH Access program to turn concepts into products ready for national retail.

"We are continually inspired by the incredible creativity that is coming out of the maker and inventor communities, and wanted to find a way to further our collaboration. New ideas shouldn't be sacrificed for outdated retail models, so our goal is to change the model, and open new channels for ideas. With PCH's support we have the manufacturing, packaging and distribution network to bring these products to life," said Magnacca.

RadioShack is struggling to be relevant and find its place in the modern retail landscape. There's an extensive store remodeling program and new prototypes, although an attempt to shutter nearly 1,110 underperforming stores was thwarted by creditors. The retailer, instead, will close just 200 locations.

For more:
-See this RadioShack press release
-See this Forbes story

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