By Lisa Johnston
New products on display at the American International Toy Fair, held in N
RadioShack will begin retrofitting 20 of its Jacksonville, Fla., units next month in a test of its latest store design concept.
The new format, which builds on a two-year prototype trial in Tucson, Ariz., represents a radical departure from the typical RadioShack design and could ultimately be rolled out to all 5,100 company-owned stores nationwide.
Like the 17 Tucson stores, the newest prototype, dubbed "Best To Shop," features improved product placement and adjacencies, better signage, wider aisles, and a sleek, contemporary look with bright colors. According to RadioShack, the format was designed 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.
"This newest concept is the next step in our quest to gain further relevance with the consumer," said chairman/CEO Len Roberts. "This refreshing store design supports our focus on anchor businesses and the growing digital product revolution and allows us to expand our assortment to exceed our customers' expectations."
RadioShack president/COO Dave Edmondson said the Jacksonville retrofits will reflect lessons learned from the Tucson project, which encompassed 17 locations. The Arizona stores were segmented into four "zones" in which similar goods and services were clustered. The first prototype was opened in June 2000.
"The Tucson model was successful in many ways and this latest concept builds on what customers want from us in terms of both products and the shopping environment," Edmondson said. Carried over to the Jacksonville stores will be the wider aisles, clearer signage, improved access to products and the ability to operate them, and the lime green, orange, purple and blue color scheme.
Tweaks will include moving the sales counter from the front of the store to the center to alleviate traffic flow problems and embracing a "value engineering" approach to lower construction costs. Explained Edmondson, "While the shopping experience allowed us to exceed sales forecasts, store construction costs did not meet our goal, which is critical if we are to expand a new store design concept across 5,100 company stores nationwide."
To that end, the new stores will employ wall system fixtures that will allow sales associates to completely and inexpensively change the layout of merchandise and color palette within hours. The prototypes are also about 500 square feet larger than the typical 2,200-square-foot RadioShack footprint to allow for wider aisles and more open space.
The first retrofits will be completed early next month and all 20 stores should be refurbished by year's end, the company said. RadioShack unveiled the concept earlier this month at the Charles D. Tandy Center mall near corporate headquarters here. "We consider the Fort Worth store a living laboratory that will enable us to measure consumer response and experiment with new ideas," Edmondson said.
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