Radio Shack Closing 1100 Stores


Eectronics retailer Radio Shack has announced they will be closing 1,100 of their stores.

The news came about after reports of a dismal quarterly sale, especially over the holidays. The loss is calculated to be about 19% due to weak customer traffic, which also contributed to the company’s stock dropping 23 points. The planned closures will leave the Fort Worth, Texas-based chain with over 4,000 stores, including over 900 dealer franchise locations.


Staples to Close 225 stores

In this May 17, 2011 file photo, a Staples sign is displayed on the front of a Staple store, in Portland, Ore. Staples says it will shutter 225 North American stores, about 10 percent of Staples Inc.'s worldwide total of 2,200, by the end of 2015, and the office-supply retailer has started a plan to save about $500 million annually.

There is a show which aired on PBS station “America Revealed” which tells how 1/3 of jobs are gone, many have been loss to overseas but many are being done in the USA with robots.
In America, there is more money than ever, 1.7 trillion in exports but fewer jobs.

Here is the video


Radio Shack is a dinosaur which has needed to go on a diet for some time. Its problems, as the article notes, are:

  1. Too many stores

  2. Out of date image

  3. Not competitive with online retailers.

They should be able to turn themselves around, although it will be difficult. The central problem is that Radio Shack is superfluous. If it disappeared overnight, existing retail businesses could easily pick up the slack.


I really miss the old days when RS actually made their own merchandise. Realistic stereo components and speakers. They had a full line and I even bought a cassette deck from them that I could actually afford. Of course cassettes are long gone and I am revealing my age.

But I think RSs death knell was when they started selling the same stuff as everyone else. I went to RS to get things at a reasonable price.


My son was a store Manager for Radio Shack until a couple of months ago. He quit because of his frustration with their business decisions. He worked to sell the items that had a higher profit margin, they wanted him to concentrate on sales on items such as batteries and other low margin items. He has been much happier since he left.



RS still makes some products, they name the brands of various products different things (its really unnecessary).

my current job is at RS, and though i like it way better then most of my entry level positions, its not all that good on the employee relations end. first off, minimum wage and 2% commission (whoop-de-doo). and that we have to meet a somewhat tight metric for the month in phones, service plans, batteries, upgrade checks, ect. and the worst part is that i also have to be a telemarketer for the company.


I wouldn’t trust PBS to give the whole story.

Businesses move abroad because taxes are higher here. And as for automation, well, that’s been around for some time now. Government needs to get out of the way and allow for more innovation. This should be done in a sustainable manner.


Their electronic component prices are not competitive but instead rely on convenience of those not willing to wait. The online retailers are “killing” them as you can buy components at a 1/3 of the cost.


What they show in the movie is all these businesses and how robots or machines have taken over in the USA. Granted jobs have gone overseas too.

One third of our jobs have gone; that has got to pose a problem. I am not sure what period that involves, whether it is 20 or 50 years.


I used to enjoy going to Radio Shack, as a radio electronics hobbyist. But in the past decades, they’ve gone the way of the dinosaur. They’re no longer really “radio” shack, but “cell phone” shack. And, well, if I’m going to buy a cell phone (or cell phone accessory), I’d rather go to another store. Batteries? Thanks, I’ll go to Costco where I get better prices (and also pick up my milk, coffee, meat, etc., at the same time)

As for Staples, Office Depot, Office Max, etc., why bother when I can order something from Amazon at a cheaper price and it’s delivered to my door in a couple of days? Yes, as an individual customer, I may want to go in and browse and have impulse buys every now and again, but individual customers aren’t the backbone of those chains: offices are…and they almost always do their buys online.

The discussion of automation in the manufacturing area is a completely different issue than the first two. Worthy of discussion, by all means, but in the same thread as something talking about the closure of brick-and-mortar stores? I don’t see the direct connection.


There is no connection. They articles and show just happen to be in the news at the same time.

So we see more stores closing. Some has to do with internet buying as Americans are buying from Amazon, Newegg, Ebay and many more. Last few years we have seen the same closings with Circuit City, Borders, Friendly’s, even grocery stores such as Stop and Shop and Shaw’s and these are just a few.

On the PBS video, it showed how the auto industry had closed most of its USA plants only to be replaced by foreign plants such as Volkswagon in Tennessee or Nissan. Americans buy a great deal of cars which is a high end product, but who gets the profits since most plants are owned by overseas companies.

Our major export is paper, a product which has low value. According to the video, we have lost 1/3 of our total jobs. I would say that many were good manufacturing jobs such as polishers or toolmakers. Every factory in the northeast and there were lots gave out benefits such as healthcare, paid vacations, overtime wages. They have been replaced by service jobs which are the economically lowest possible jobs.

I guess I need to open a thread under the PBS video.


RS lost a lot of customers (myself included) with their nosy, pesky policy of demanding my phone number or/and zip code before I could buy anything there. So much so that for a while there was even a sign at the register from the CEO explaining, “Welcome to RS, but don’t be alarmed that our clerks are asking for personal information.” This was years ago, before cell phones and the Internet - RS took the lead on that. They seriously shot themselves in the foot.


And the clerks became more interested in the personal information than actually helping you. Their priority was confused. They became automated humans who had to go through the entire boring automated story line to reach the point when the “customer” was actually being served.

I think the main purpose in this regard of serving the customer is completely convoluted, its happening in many small business’s today.


Automation is a simple matter of math.

If a product takes 100 man-hours to build and the cost of labor is $50 per hour (which includes both the wages and benefits…really not that unreasonable a guess), that means that each unit produced has $5,000 of labor built into it.

If the manufacturing union goes on strike and demands an extra $10 per hour of cost (again, between wages and benefits), that will raise the cost per unit up to $6,000.

Now either management has to figure out how to reduce that labor cost, either by reducing the amount of labor per unit or reducing the cost of each labor unit. The alternative is that the extra cost will have to be absorbed someplace. Either by reducing profits or by passing that increased cost on to the consumer.

Since most manufacturing concerns are publicly traded corporations, the stockholders have a say in whether or not profits are reduced. If their return on investment goes down, there is nothing to stop them from selling and investing elsewhere. Keep in mind that the biggest investors are institutional (mutual funds and retirement funds) --the individual investor in a mutual fund may not even know what socks the fund holds and only cares if the fund pays a return.

So the real option is then to increase prices to cover the extra expense. Of course, that’s not any good either, because there will be fewer units sold.

So now we’re back to reducing labor costs. And that’s where automation and outsourcing comes in.


Even CEO Can’t Figure Out How RadioShack Still In Business

FORT WORTH, TX—Despite having been on the job for nine months, RadioShack CEO Julian Day said Monday that he still has “no idea” how the home electronics store manages to stay open.
“There must be some sort of business model that enables this company to make money, but I’ll be damned if I know what it is,” Day said. “You wouldn’t think that people still buy enough strobe lights and extension cords to support an entire nationwide chain, but I guess they must, or I wouldn’t have this desk to sit behind all day.”,2190/


Hehe, The Onion still has it.


This loss of jobs has been killing the blue collar families for the last fifty years.
Manufacturing jobs always gave full healthcare, full employment plus overtime, paid vacations and often a good Christmas bonus.

The owners and stockholders saw a good opportunity in low wages, less pollution standards, work standards and they left, plus I would assume that many of these low end products are sold to China and India (overseas) and that saves on shipping costs.

With the lost of the US auto Industry and the influx of foreigners companies taking over the car industry, doesn’t that pose a problem… Sure they may have plants in some states and employ workers, but where do the real profits go to if not back to their own countries. We buy most of the cars(saves them the cost of shipping) and they take the profits home.

Our new industry now is “facebook”?:eek:


As an FYI, Nissan, Toyota, VAG, BMW are all publicly traded companies. If you want to be an owner, you can buy some shares of one or more of them.

As for blue collar jobs being decimated, you’re right. But if you look at the profitability of most of these companies, particularly auto companies, the best you’ll see is 10-12 pct. And that really isn’t all that outrageous. It doesn’t support an assertion that they are making excessive profits on that backs of the workers.

The bottom line is that if we wasn’t more manufacturing in this country, there are two choices:

Choice 1 is to put up tariffs to make it more expensive to buy overseas products than domestic. That will help with domestic jobs, but, without additional efficiencies, it will result in higher consumer costs. The other problem is that countries to whom we export products may decide to throw tariffs on our products, which would make it more difficult for us to sell our stuff. But it’s a choice.

Choice 2 is to figure out how to innovate to be lower cost than our competitors, making it financially advantageous for consumers to buy our products. That may be through lower labor rates, more automation, or just developing new stuff that isn’t available yet from foreign sources.

Neither choice is easy and both have downsides.

You tell me which to do :shrug:


I would chose 1. We have become accustomed to the Dollar Tree stores, buy and throw away. Although it is fun to shop there, it really isn’t that necessary. Was a time when you would buy a few good screwdrivers and they would last a life time if you took care of them or a couple of flashlight that you made sure worked. We used bows and paper over and over again. The "throw away " because we can get another for $1.00 doesn’t necessarily serve us.

Where are the profits(10-12%) of the auto company going to, are they going overseas? If so, how does that serve US citizens?

It doesn’t seem like we export a whole lot but paper and computer chips, both in high demand.


I’d agree. They are the 7/11 of electronics. They are the place to do if I need a pack of resistors to finish a project, but not the place to get the same pack if I knew I’d need those ahead of time.

Likewise with a gallon of milk. 7/11 is not the place to do your normal grocery shopping, but it IS the place to run out to if you need something quickly.


By definition, the profits are centered on the country where the headquarters is.

So the profits for GM car would flow to the US, while the profits for a Nissan will flow to Japan.

But the income for the manufacturing jobs would remain in the country where the wages were earned. Thus the payroll for a GM plant in Mexico would generally remain in Mexico, while the payroll for a Nissan plant in Tennessee would generally remain in the US.

As far as the profits themselves, the large majority of the net profits are actually banked away, as the auto industry is cyclical in nature. 10% profit one year could be followed by a -10% loss the next, so the auto companies retain profits as a buffer for low years.

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