Hearne: The Gut Wrenching Fall of Radio Shack & Consumer Electronics Retailers

rs_adpReaders of this site are no strangers to the fast fading fate of audio/video retailers…

Kansas City – and probably soon Lawrence – are perfect examples. As recently as 10 years ago both still had at least a smattering of mid to high end electronics boutiques. Now Kansas City is down to essentially two stores – one really. There’s Overland Park’s AV Design Studio and in Lawrence, Kief’s Audio Video, which is facing a far from uncertain future following the recent retirement of owner/founder John Kiefer.

So while the jury’s still out, the Grim Reaper’s in and he’s licking his chops.

And it’s not much better on the national front.

It will be a minor miracle if Best Buy is still around in five, let alone 10 years.

And longtime industry giant Radio Shack, Don’t even ask.

120414_best_buy“I think they’ll close about 1,000 stores in the next couple of months,” Kiefer speculates. “They were once a good company. The problem is they were catering to do-it-yourselfers and that market is dying. Radio Shack is like the guy still trying to sell buggy whips. I’m sure there’s a market for that still, but you can’t make much money selling buggy whips.”

Radio Shack scaled back plans to close more than 1,000 stores in May after failing to reach an agreement with its lenders. That after reporting a $191.4 fourth quarter loss in March.

The trials and tribulations are almost everywhere.

“The audio business is gone,” Kiefer says. “Because the only thing a customer wants to do today is walk into a store and listen to something and then go somewhere else and find a better price.”

antiquated_business_strategyIs there a path forward for Radio Shack?

“Close the stores that are trying to to cater to the do-it-yourselfers,” Kiefer says. “Let that go to their online division. And leave open the stores where there’s a high concentration of mid level to affluent customers. That’s probably 10 percent of its stores.”

In other words, close 90 percent of the 4,300 Radio Shacks open today?

“That’s right and at the ones they keep open raise the prices.”

Did I mention that the future of audio video stores was bleak?

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7 Responses to Hearne: The Gut Wrenching Fall of Radio Shack & Consumer Electronics Retailers

  1. Skeptic says:

    Independence Audio (in Independence natch) is a great local boutique (as you call it) mid to high range place with personal service. No I don’t work there but you should check them out. I outfitted the wife’s used Acura there.

    • Jim a.k.a. BWH says:

      Nearly had to sue Independence Audio for a botched installation job on my vehicle. So, I’m not a fan. But, maybe mine was a freak thing. They been around a long time so they must be doing something right.

    • admin says:

      I know ’em…

      They’re just not really fully in the game as they used to be. Nobody is really. And car audio is a different beast…although also a dying breed.

  2. randyraley says:

    Best Buy has screwed themselves. Went online to scout out a new computer, found what I was looking for, went into Best Buy, found the computer there and….nothing. The “workers” there were too busy to quit texting someone to help me. Two of their associates walked right by me, no “hello, what are you looking for,” nothing. I stood there for a few minutes and still…no one came and asked me anything. So, I left and ordered it from Amazon, shipped to my door in two days at a better price. These stores have no one to blame but themselves. Once Radio Shack started asking for my phone number, I was done there, too.

  3. Les Weatherford says:

    Radio Shack had a fourth quarter loss of $191.4? Got that right here in my wallet.

  4. the dude says:

    Radio Shack quit selling stuff for electronic geeks a long time ago and decided to harass customers about cell phones and horribly overpriced batteries.
    Let them die a horrible, wretched death.

    Best Buy is kinda OK if you know exactly what you want to buy before you walk in and don’t want any help from the salespeople at all.

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