RadioShack had a hell of ride at retail. The cradle of building your own electronics at home, and an early participant in the PC revolution, is finally facing the end after a long, slow death at the hands of consumer disinterest, a dysfunctional marriage with Sprint, andthe choice to hire Nick Cannon a spokesman (Zing! JK Nick Cannon’s hilarious). This, in turn, has meant that bitter employees are running wild on official social media pages as the company sinks into the waters of retail oblivion, next to Circuit City. The company isn’t helping matters with its grim Twitter feed, as The Verge points out, hoping you’ll come in and buy their used office furniture.
We’re not kidding about that:
If you want real sadness, click the RadioShack hashtag; it’s mostly RadioShack, promoting tweets like this:
But to their credit, even as they’re stripping their locations to the walls, they’re still taking the time to be on-brand:
RadioShack was killed by a mixture of the fact that you can get their stuff cheaper on the internet and, well, most technology people bought in person was a phone, which they tended to buy from branded stores. There was a ray of hope when Sprint bought the brand, but that wasn’t enough to save it, and once it went back into bankruptcy, Sprint basically took a few hundred stores and kicked the rest to the curb.
Lest other retailers chuckle, this is probably their future. Investors have been pouring money into retailers, creating what are described by investment analysts as zombies — chains that have no hope of profitability or return, but are being kept alive by sheer optimism. Now, that investor patience appears to be on the verge of running out; retailer bankruptcies are unfolding at a record pace in 2017.
It’s not getting better and won’t anytime soon. Analysts have identified three key trends: People aren’t going to stores as often because they either buy their stuff online or do the majority of their research about it online; a glut of retail space has meant that America is overmalled; and people have increasingly shown more interest in going out to eat than buying stuff they probably don’t even need in the first place.
In some ways, this is also the fallout of the Great Recession. People were forced to ask themselves what they really valued, and money talks. So careful, retail executives, or soon you might find these grim tweets on your own brand’s feeds.