Amazon.com has discussed acquiring some RadioShack locations after the electronics chain files for bankruptcy, joining Sprint in considering a bid, two people with knowledge of the matter said.
Seattle-based Amazon has considered using the RadioShack stores as showcases for the company’s hardware, as well as potential pickup and drop-off centers for online customers, said one of the people, who asked not to be named because the deliberations are private.
The possible move, discussed as part of RadioShack’s looming trip to bankruptcy court, would represent Amazon’s biggest push into traditional retail. Amazon joins other potential bidders, including Sprint and the investment group behind Brookstone, in evaluating RadioShack stores, people familiar with the situation said.
RadioShack has more than 4,000 U.S. locations and is moving toward a deal to sell a portion and close the rest, according to some of the people. Sprint has discussed buying 1,300 to 2,000, they said.
Craig Berman, a spokesman for Amazon, didn’t respond to a request for comment. Merianne Roth, a spokeswoman for Fort Worth-based RadioShack, declined to comment, as did a representative for Brookstone.
As part of the negotiations, Sprint and RadioShack have discussed co-branding the stores, two of the people said. Liquidation isn’t inevitable: It’s possible that another bidder could emerge that would buy RadioShack and keep it operating, the people said. Amazon’s talks also may not lead to a deal.
Retail locations would put Amazon on more of an even footing with Apple Inc., which has hundreds of stores in choice shopping districts. While Amazon’s Kindle has been a breakthrough success, some of its other devices haven’t connected with consumers. Its Fire smartphone didn’t sell well and contributed to a $170 million inventory writedown in the third quarter of last year.
Amazon continues to invest in new hardware as it pushes beyond its core business of selling things online. In November, it introduced the voice-activated Amazon Echo speaker that lets people stream music and add things to Amazon shopping lists. The company also has opened temporary “pop-up” shops to entice shoppers during the holidays.
RadioShack is believed to be preparing to file for bankruptcy after nearly three years of losses. In December, it said it lost $161 million in the third quarter and launched a new $400 million cost-cutting campaign.
This week, clearance sale signs went up on the outside of many RadioShack stores, an indication that the company is trying to clear inventory and perhaps prepare for closings.
In its first day of trading as an over-the counter stock after being delisted by the New York Stock Exchange, RadioShack (ticker: RSHC) lost 13 cents to close at 11 cents a share on Tuesday.
This article includes material from Star-Telegram archives.