RadioShack has been acquired by El Salvador-based Unicomer Group with a plan to overhaul its website and add new programs driven by its heritage in technological innovation for franchised operators.
Unicomer had become one of the largest independent RadioShack franchise owners in the world, acquiring the El Salvador franchise in 1998 and the rights to the RadioShack brands, intellectual property, and franchise agreements for all of Central America, South America, and the Caribbean in 2015.
Rudy Siman, president of RadioShack International and new businesses, franchises, and trade VP at Unicomer, told the Wall Street Journal that more than 500 new products will be added for sale online and be made available to U.S. dealers. Items will include “more end products than the stores have typically sold, focusing more on cellphone products, headphones, batteries and adapters, for instance.”
RadioShack will seek to establish an Amazon.com storefront and revive franchise development. Founded in 1921 to provide equipment for amateur ham radio operators, RadioShack now has around 400 stores worldwide, down from a peak of over 7,000 in 2003.
However, RadioShack’s return to its traditional focus on consumer gadgets and adaptors means the new owners will have to overcome the problems that led to the first bankruptcy in 2015, including heightened competition for consumer electronics from online players like Amazon and big-box stores such as Best Buy.
Private label offerings, including drones, headphones, radios, and adapters, were strongly emphasized pre-bankruptcy to offset the margin pressures, a push expected to be continued under the new owners.
“We will continue to offer a robust innovative product portfolio that makes the life of our customers easier, along with an extensive benefit program that adds value to every purchase,” Unicomer’s Siman said in a statement. “Our challenge is to continue innovating in both directions and remain on our customers’ top of mind.”