By Lisa Johnston
New products on display at the American International Toy Fair, held in N
RadioShack unveiled a fleet of next-generation prototype stores here last month.
The 20 outlets represent a refinement of a design concept that had been tested at 17 locations in Tucson, Ariz., during a two-year period.
Like its predecessors, the new Florida stores are a radical departure from the typical RadioShack shop. Sleek and contemporary, the Jacksonville units feature a striking lime green and orange color scheme, curved, ceiling-hung signage, and a less cluttered appearance.
The latter is attributable to wider aisles and more open space, thanks to a 25 percent increase in store size to about 2,700 square feet on average. Also contributing to the cleaner look are movable wall fixtures, the absence of glass cases, a centrally located checkout counter, and a drawer system for connectors and other parts.
The new format was designed to improve store profitability and return on investment capital, explained Lou Provost, RadioShack's executive VP/sales channels. The concept, he said, stemmed from an intellectual exercise in which management asked itself, "If we were going to be a new company and compete with RadioShack, how would the stores look?"
The design was also intended to be more appealing to women and younger shoppers, and to better showcase the company's revamped merchandise mix of parts, batteries, accessories, wireless communications, digital cameras, video gaming and personal audio (TWICE, Aug. 19, p. 18).
The prototypes also return the RadioShack brand to the forefront, compared to typical locations where it competes for eyeballs with Compaq, Microsoft, RCA and other vendor partners under the present store-within-a-store program.
Provost said Jacksonville was chosen for its "good mix of demographics," and that RadioShack will study the new stores' performance before taking the redesign into additional markets.
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