RadioShack may be down, but it's not totally out

          Laura Heller

Time ran out for RadioShack last week, when the retailer filed for Chapter 11 bankruptcy protection, ending a storied 94-year run.

But this doesn't mean that we won't have RadioShack to kick around anymore. Not entirely.

The pre-packaged agreement with creditors calls for the sale of up to 2,400 stores to a unit of Standard General, its largest shareholder. Standard General has in turn brokered a deal with Sprint that will allow the wireless provider to operate a store-within-store model, preserving the RadioShack brand within up to 1,750 of the acquired locations.

The Chapter 11 filing preserves some of RadioShack's assets and the co-branded store with Sprint will be just that, co-branded. There will still be RadioShack branded merchandise and RadioShack associates to some degree.

As a pre-packaged Chapter 11 filing, this was a bit more like a Chapter 7, points out FierceRetailIT contributor Paula Rosenblum of RSR Research. RadioShack will get to divest itself of real estate and preserve some assets without the risk of another party bidding on them.

Still, that doesn't mean the RadioShack brand is totally going away.  

Even in a liquidation, a brand name can live on. Look no further than Circuit City, which has a Web presence since the sale of the name to Tiger Direct. Heck, even Crazy Eddie—the consumer electronics retailer whose founder bilked the company, fled the country and eventually served less than three years of his eight-year prison term following extradition—has attempted a comeback or three.

RadioShack is a name with value and a concept with some, too. It took far too long to assemble the right team to take it there and had too many creditors in line to collect. When the company tried to close 1,100 underperforming stores, it was blocked by Salus Capital and it became clear that bankruptcy was its only choice.

But it's not going away, not entirely. It's unlikely that RadioShack will ever be able to reinvent itself, but who knows. Maybe there is still a chance for RadioShack to rise again. -Laura