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RadioShack files for bankruptcy; Mesilla Valley Mall store may close

On Thursday, the 94-year-old company filed for bankruptcy protection. … The long-struggling company had warned of a possible bankruptcy in …

Summary of the Article

On Thursday, the 94-year-old company filed for bankruptcy protection. … The long-struggling company had warned of a possible bankruptcy in …

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LAS CRUCES >> Las Cruces is likely to lose one of the city’s three RadioShack locations, the company announced Friday. On Thursday, the 94-year-old company filed for bankruptcy protection.

On Friday, the Fort Worth, Texas-based company released a list of “potential closures,” and the Mesilla Valley Mall location, which has operated for decades, was on that list. The same day, the mall location was having a “closeout blowout,” with remaining merchandise marked down 20 percent to 50 percent. Much of the store’s merchandise had been cleared of the shelves.

The city’s other two RadioShacks — on South Valley Drive and North Main Street — were not on the “potential closures” list. Neither were the stores in Deming and Silver City.

The long-struggling company had warned of a possible bankruptcy in September, but received rescue financing to keep it afloat.

RadioShack said in its Chapter 11 filing Thursday that it plans to sell 1,500 to 2,400 stores to its largest shareholder, investment firm Standard General. It is seeking to close the remainder of its 4,000 U.S. stores.

Local RadioShack employees were not authorized to comment on the bankruptcy, and referred questions Friday to the company’s corporate offices. When contacted, corporate officials provided no statement.

Local reaction

Las Crucens had mixed reactions to the news of the mall location’s closure.


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“Radio Shack used to be an experience back in the day,” said Bryan Sullivan on Facebook. “I remember when they sold the corded cell phones and ‘state of the art’ electronics like the TI-94/A, which was my first computer. But they never seemed to move with the times and always moved below the radar, with a few rogue promotions that never caught on.”

Some praised the store’s selection of hard-to-find electronic components.

“I would stop in to grab adaptors for my music equipment,” Jaime Estrada commented on Facebook. “RadioShack helped me out of several last-minute emergencies. I will miss that store. I love electronics.”

Tony Naranjo said that he used to shop at RadioShack more often, but can now find what he needs elsewhere. “I used to frequent RadioShack back in the day. They were one of the first major electronic stores, and they always had some sort of cord or cable I needed. But now Walmart sells the same things at a cheaper price, so it’s just more convenient to buy that cord or cable at the same place I’m getting my groceries,” he said in a Facebook post.

“Some of my favorite memories are buying circuit boards for my children to learn about electronics,” said Martin Jeffers, who commented on the Sun-News Facebook page. He believes that the company will emerge from bankruptcy. “Without RadioShack, there would never have been an Apple computer, and many other tech companies. At one time, it was the delivery room for innovation.”

Berto Burnham said he used to shop the mall location, but quit going when the store shifted its emphasis toward cell phones.

“From 1999 to 2005, I was there all the time buying hardware for robots. But they slowly moved their store model around, and now I have to buy my stuff online because no one in town sells the parts I’m looking for,” Burnham said in a Facebook comment.

Sprint partnership

Part of the company’s plan moving forward is for Sprint, the third-largest U.S. wireless carrier, to open mini-shops in as many as 1,750 of RadioShack’s remaining stores. If approved, the deal would greatly expand Sprint’s presence in front of U.S. shoppers, more than doubling the number of Sprint company-owned stores.

The company has been aggressively trying to attract new customers from its bigger rivals, Verizon and AT&T. Sprint has a deal in place with Standard General to open its mini-shops in the RadioShack stores Standard General is buying. Sprint would occupy about one-third of the retail space in each store, and Sprint employees would sell mobile devices and Sprint plans. Sprint would be the primary brand on those RadioShack storefronts and marketing materials.

The deal is expected to be wrapped up in the coming months. But other parties could bid for RadioShack’s stores in the bankruptcy process.

Road to bankruptcy

The beleaguered company worked hard to avoid bankruptcy, after suggesting in September that restructuring was possible. RadioShack hired Walgreen Co. executive Joe Magnacca as its CEO and former Treasury Department adviser Harry J. Wilson as chief revitalization officer.

It also developed relationships with popular brands like Beats Audio and redesigned almost half of its U.S. locations — some 2,000 stores — in an effort to entice younger shoppers.

The company, which has not turned a profit since 2011, employs about 27,500 people worldwide, according to its last annual report filed with the U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission. It is seeking court approval to keep paying employees, honor customer programs and keep operating as it restructures.

RadioShack said Thursday that it also has ore than 1,000 dealer franchise stores in 25 countries, stores operated by its Mexican subsidiary, and operations in Asia, which are not included in the Chapter 11 filing. The company is looking to sell them.

The Associated Press contributed to this report.

Damien Willis can be reached at 575-541-5468.

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first published: 2015-02-05 19:28:58