Photographer: Victor J. Blue/Bloomberg

RadioShack Successor Enters Bankruptcy After Revival Sputters

  • General Wireless bought chain out of previous Chapter 11
  • Several hundred locations will be converted to Sprint stores

General Wireless Operations Inc., which set out to revive RadioShack, the venerable consumer-electronics chain, filed for bankruptcy after a last-ditch effort to co-brand with Sprint Corp. still failed to keep up with changing consumer habits.

General Wireless filed for Chapter 11 protection Wednesday in U.S. Bankruptcy court in Delaware. It listed assets and liabilities of $100 million to $500 million each. 

The company was contrived to help the RadioShack name live on following the original chain’s 2015 bankruptcy filing and had joined forces with Sprint to run a store-within-a-store partnership. But pressures on the business persisted, including sluggish foot traffic at shopping centers and a shift to e-commerce. 

General Wireless said it will close 200 of its 1,300 stores. Sprint said the closings won’t have a material impact on its finances and it’s working with General Wireless to convert several hundred locations into Sprint stores.

Bloomberg News reported last week that General Wireless was preparing for bankruptcy and that a filing probably would result in liquidation, according to people familiar with the matter who asked not to be identified because the process wasn’t public.

RadioShack Corp. entered Chapter 11 two years ago, closing about half of its 4,000 stores and selling 1,700 to creditor Standard General LP.

The attempted revival was taking place during a broader pullback in brick-and-mortar commerce. Best Buy Co., the largest electronics chain, delivered a disappointing outlook at the beginning of March, a sign that even the biggest retailers are struggling to adapt. Smaller rival HHGregg Inc. filed for bankruptcy on March 6, days after announcing plans to close 88 stores.

The case is In re General Wireless Operations, 17-10506, U.S. Bankruptcy Court, District of Delaware.

— With assistance by Robert Burnson, and Andrew Monahan

    Before it's here, it's on the Bloomberg Terminal.
    LEARN MORE