Amazon is reportedly in discussion with RadioShack to buy some of the company's brick-and-mortar stores after the troubled electronics chain files for chapter 11 bankruptcy. Bloomberg says that the Seattle-based e-commerce giant is considering using the stores as showrooms for its hardware, and as pick-up and drop-off centers for items purchased online. Both Amazon and Radio Shack declined to comment on the situation, but two people apparently familiar with the matter said that Amazon may use the locations to give people a chance to try its growing range of hardware, including its range of Kindle tablets, its Fire smartphone, and its new Echo speaker.
RadioShack was suspended from the New York Stock Exchange today
Radio Shack has been hemorrhaging money for the past two years, and saw its shares, which had been at less than $1 since November, drop 13 percent on Monday to $0.24. The 92-year-old company was suspended from trading on the New York Stock Exchange today after it notified the exchange it did not intend to submit a business plan, a move that sees it slip further towards bankruptcy. Amazon isn't the only company interested in the ailing RadioShack — mobile carrier Sprint has reportedly discussed purchasing between 1,300 and 2,000 of the company's 4,000-plus US stores, and may co-brand the venues with both companies' names.
Where tech competitors like Apple have maintained a glitzy retail presence in shopping areas for years, Amazon has kept most of its storefronts online, only occasionally opening pop-up stores in malls to show off specific hardware. The company has apparently toyed with the idea of a physical presence on shopping streets — reports surfaced late last year that the company would open a store in New York's Midtown in time for the holidays, but the store never materialized. Should Amazon lock in a deal for RadioShack's stores, it will mark the company's biggest foray into traditional brick-and-mortar retail, and — with the shells of a once-huge electrical retailer occupied by the company that helped force them out of the market — act as a fairly ironic reminder of the meteoric growth of internet shopping.