By CRAIG MURPHY
Of the Keizertimes
There were no clearance sale banners on the outside.
But speculation is heavy about the future of the Keizer RadioShack, as well as the chain overall.
According to a Bloomberg report Monday evening, RadioShack Corporation is preparing to shut down as part of a bankruptcy deal that would close about half of the stores and sell the other half to wireless carrier Sprint. A separate Bloomberg report stated Amazon could be looking at the retail spaces as well.
As of Tuesday, things didn’t look much different at the Keizer RadioShack, located at 5410 River Road North in the Keizer Creekside Shopping Center. Unlike some RadioShack locations around the country, there were no big sale or going out of business banners on the windows.
Inside, there was plenty of open space and a number of empty shelves.
Katie Whelan, manager of the Keizer RadioShack, said she wasn’t allowed to comment on any of the speculation and referred the Keizertimes to the company’s media relations people.
A RadioShack media relations spokesperson didn’t have much information, either.
“We don’t have any specific information to share at this time regarding stores or markets,” the spokesperson said in an e-mail. “We do not have any comments related to the ongoing speculation about the plans for the business as a whole.”
The Texas-based retailer opened in 1921 and currently has about 4,000 stores, including the one in Keizer, three in Salem and one each in Woodburn and Silverton.
The future of the retailer has been hotly pondered for months as the brand has sought to reinvent itself numerous times in an attempt to stay relevant. Speculation ramped up Monday when the New York Stock Exchange suspended trading of RadioShack’s stock immediately, after the company failed to submit a plan addressing its lack of compliance with stock exchange rules.
According to one of the Bloomberg reports, Sprint is discussing the acquisition of 1,300 to 2,000 of RadioShack’s 4,000-plus locations. RadioShack has lost 90 percent of its value during the past year, the report noted.
The company, which was in its heyday in the 1970s and 1980s thanks to CB radios and the TRS-80 personal computer, has struggled in recent years.
According to Bloomberg, Amazon.com is interested in RadioShack retail locations as the online retail giant looks to bolster its brick-and-mortar operations, possibly using the stores as pickup and drop-off centers for online customers.