RadioShack Without the Radio?

RadioShack will change its name to “The Shack” as part of a new marketing campaign to make the company sound catchier. The retailer will apparently not change its name permanently, but executives are looking for a kind of shorthand that worked for Coke or FedEx.

In recent years RadioShack has closed stores and increased its mobile presence to secure its relevancy. Last quarter’s same-store sales were down 4%, an improvement from the 9.2% slide during its fourth quarter.

A PC World article isn’t convinced this move will do much good. “Too many consumers see Radio Shack as the go-to place for obscure electronics doodads, not as a worthy competitor to Best Buy or the wireless kiosk in the mall,” it says.

We understand the desire to take the “radio” out of the name. How many radios do these stores sell any more anyway? But “The Shack” sounds to us like some kind of country bar. Do you think the new term will revive customer interest?

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25 Responses to “RadioShack Without the Radio?”


  1. 1 James August 4, 2009 at 8:12 am

    Wow, WHO comes up with these terrible out of touch ideas? In the competitive world of retail stores i am afraid this is another “buggy whip” business that has seen its day. Originally aimed at ham radio hobbyists it long ago lost touch with its customer, who also disappeared, and it has failed to keep pace with technology. It has degenerated into a gadget/toy store and not a very good one at that. Gadgets are available everywhere.
    This is a company that has entirely missed all sorts of trends over the years and lost its identity along the way, I think it is way too late to catch up. Like an old arthritic geek in plaid pants and saddle shoes it is inappropriate to now come on like a ultra kool martini swilling hipster!

  2. 2 Netprop August 4, 2009 at 8:35 am

    James..but how do you really feel????

    Actually, I’d have to agree with you. Radio Shack has indeed become the ‘wood’ of technology’s retail outlets. Too bad that the best thing about the name change would be the long overdue idea of any change…

  3. 3 Jonathan August 4, 2009 at 9:06 am

    I went into a Radio Shack last week when I was netbook shopping because after driving past it for the last five years I wondered what was actually inside.

    As luck would have it, they actually carried the model I was looking for, but it was $40 more expensive than the exact same model at Best Buy, and this was confirmed by the disbelieving salesguy behind the counter when he did an online search.

    I told him that if he price-matched the item I’d buy it there and then. He hemmed and hawed and ultimately called ‘someone’ on his cell-phone, after which he told me he couldn’t match Best Buy’s price, and that Radio Shack’s prices are higher because they offer better customer service.

    I laughed and left, wondering how a dinosaur like Radio Shack had so many locations still open.

  4. 4 Glen August 4, 2009 at 10:02 am

    Yep, they have lost touch!

  5. 5 Ed Efchak August 4, 2009 at 10:19 am

    I agree I think it’s a bad move…for a Jersey guy, the re-name sounds like it could be a hot dog stand…

    Seriously, I agree with James…the name was iconic for those technology minded…now it’s part junk/part phone store in a sea of competitors.

  6. 6 Chris August 4, 2009 at 10:23 am

    Honey let’s stop by “The Shack” tonight on our way home. Oh that sounds great, I LOVE seafood!

    Coke and Fed Ex are big, dominating, monster brands with clumsy names that don’t befit their household name status, so shortening the name makes sense in that case. Radio Shack is sort of an irrelevant specialty store, especially compared to a Best Buy or something. Shortening Radio Shack to “The Shack” feels like a jumping of the shark. No bueno. Hire the advertising firm who did the hipster branding for Target a few years ago.

  7. 7 August August 4, 2009 at 10:30 am

    Maybe they could accept their limitations and create a niche selling “retro” items like 8 track players, answering machines, and Walkmans, along with all the batteries, cords and electronic parts we still need in proximity to our neighborhoods.

    • 8 MC August 4, 2009 at 12:26 pm

      That is actually an amazing idea… Out of date electronics. They are almost all the way there anyhow. Nice idea August – you should be their CEO

  8. 9 Kurt Waltz August 4, 2009 at 10:55 am

    “The Shack” suggests to me that Radio Shack is headed in the right direction — just not far-enough, to wit: I suggest they change the name to The Shack-Job and retain Megan Fox as their new spokesperson. [Caveat: Posted by an old arthritic geek in plaid pants and saddle shoes.]

  9. 10 Curt August 4, 2009 at 12:04 pm

    Terribble idea. Should have bought the Circuit City name, maybe still can.

  10. 11 YouCan'tPolish... August 4, 2009 at 1:15 pm

    Be relevant and accurate- change name to Radio Schlock.
    Done!

  11. 12 Michael Jabara August 4, 2009 at 3:04 pm

    I hate to be the contrarian here…yes, the consumer electronics stuff that they sell is mostly crap. Yes, their wireless offerings are weaker than the company stores and kiosks. But, the REAL reason that I STILL go to Radio Shack IS the little doodads that anybody working in electronics, computers or home entertainment…the switches, connectors, adapters, cables, etc. that makes all of this stuff really WORK.

    When I walk into a Best Buy or Circuit City before they imploded, there were never ANYTHING like Radio Shack has. I was always directed to obscenely priced things like Monster Cables (with 200 percent markup!!) and even then, they wouldn’t have what I needed…

    I agree with all of the commentators on one thing: Please DON’T change what you’re REALLY good at and try to be something that you aren’t

  12. 13 Dude August 4, 2009 at 3:17 pm

    I think they should shorten the name to The Radio.
    If they close where will I go twice a year when I need solder or a binding post?

  13. 14 TheDude August 4, 2009 at 3:41 pm

    Anybody ever see that article in The Onion where they did an interview with the Radio Shack CEO about how he has no clue how still make money? Frickin’ hilarious: http://www.theonion.com/content/news/even_ceo_cant_figure_out_how

    • 15 James August 5, 2009 at 8:42 am

      Great tie in, even he is bewildered, they certainly have the CEO they deserve!

    • 16 Netprop August 5, 2009 at 9:42 am

      Thanks for the link…UNBELIEVABLE…one would think this were the intro to an announcement about a huge transformation in product and service which the CEO had implemented, but instead it’s like eavesdropping on his conversation at dinner after his first week in the job.

      Two years later, he is implementing this dynamic name change!

      Hmm, perhaps he is a GM alumni…

  14. 17 Holmes August 4, 2009 at 4:03 pm

    Now that Duane Reade has ripped off Radio Shack’s logo, what else is there left to do?

  15. 18 greendiamond August 4, 2009 at 4:11 pm

    In addition to the nick-name, RadioShack has signed as the lead sponsor for a pro bicycling team to be lead by Lance Armstrong. Team RadioShack will be a household name across Europe next year as well as a few races in the US.

    • 19 James August 5, 2009 at 8:57 am

      NOTE: And led my the OLDEST guy in the sport not the fastest, I think their CEO may be the arthritic old guy wearing plaid pants and saddle shoes!

  16. 20 Tom August 4, 2009 at 6:14 pm

    Ed and Chris nailed it. The Shack is actually an ex biker bar on Long Island, now a seafood restaurant. Perhaps they could sell food instead of radios.

  17. 21 MH August 5, 2009 at 9:04 am

    The Shack, it ranks up there with The Dump as far as names go! They should trash the idea before they roll it out. They should just call themselves Short Circuit instead!

  18. 23 Mike August 5, 2009 at 10:22 am

    There’s a restaurant here in Florida called The Food Shack. Chaos and confusion shall ensue.

  19. 24 Ken Simons August 5, 2009 at 6:42 pm

    Do they even sell radios anymore? Maybe the Garage Shack, where you can buy everything that you lost in your garage. Thats why I go there. And they excel in that arena…..

  20. 25 Franklin August 6, 2009 at 9:03 am

    Wow, I am amazed at the haters out there. Radio Shack is no different than a grocery store, everyone needs TP. It’s a necessity based electronics operation. Who really cares about a name other than the advertising companies that specialize in it? Call it the TP Shack, it still serves the general consumer and I will go there for every small ticket electric item. As for James’s comment, cycling is not about the fastest, but the most consistent, that’s Lance and that’s Radio Shack. The make money because they had the same sales #’s in 2000 as they do today. Effective money management, low overhead and low occupancy costs.


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