New York - RadioShack has made mobility a cornerstone of its
business model, and aims to be a national destination for cellphones, netbooks
and all related services, chairman/CEO Julian Day declared.
In a rare public appearance, Day told investors at a Goldman
Sachs retail conference here yesterday that mobility is "an increasingly
central plank" in RadioShack's marketplace positioning, and that the company is
working hard to obtain first-to-market products and technologies after being
denied access to iPhone and certain early-launch exclusives.
"We're vitally interested in getting access to every and all new
products," he noted.
Day said mobility has supplanted the main A/V wall within the
chain's 4,500 company-owned stores and will receive additional space allocations.
In addition, RadioShack's new "The Shack" marketing campaign, which
"strengthens and contemporizes the brand franchise," will further position the
retailer as a mobility authority.
RadioShack faces stiff competition from a vast fleet of
carrier-owned stores and Best Buy's new Best Buy Mobile departments and
stand-alone shops. About the latter, marketing executive VP Lee Applbaum
described the shops' intimate, small-box format and knowledgeable sales
associates as a confirmation of RadioShack's own business model.
RadioShack has the added advantage of a longer track record in
mobile, and remains the nation's largest retailer of cellphones, aside from the
carriers, Day said.
Elsewhere, the legacy parts business, for which the company is still
best known by consumers, will continue to be a key component of RadioShack's
strategy, Day noted. The third leg of the assortment, he said, will be
comprised of a catch-all "end-user" category that will feature "new,
interesting and innovative product."
Day said his first priority as CEO was to get RadioShack's
operational house in order before overhauling its marketing message. "I had
been focused on making sure the company is financially strong with great
operational effectiveness," he told investors. Now that cost control "is part
of our DNA ... we're ready for the next step."
Applbaum said it is too early to judge the effectiveness of The
Shack campaign as re-branding programs are long-term efforts.
Looking ahead, Day said he believes the economic recovery will be
slower than analysts and the media are projecting, as access to home equity,
which helped fuel consumer spending, "has gone away and there is no process in
place to change it."