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RadioShack To Leverage Its Audio Heritage

Fort Worth, Texas – RadioShack plans to expand its house-brand and name-brand audio selection “to refocus on our heritage in audio,” company VP Douglas Lane told TWICE.

“It’s our favorite category. Our salespeople love to sell audio,” said the VP of global sourcing and private brand product management.

In the fourth quarter, RadioShack will expand its selection of Auvio house-brand and other-brand headphones and Bluetooth speakers, launch the chain’s first Auvio-brand soundbars since around 2008, expand its selection of other-brand soundbars, and introduce new Auvio in-room passive speakers without expanding the Auvio passive-speaker selection.

The retailer also offers Auvio-brand architectural speakers; A/V receivers from Yamaha and Sherwood; soundbars from Toshiba and Philips; Bluetooth speakers from Beats, JBL, and Soundfreaq; docking speakers from JBL; and headphones from SkullCandy, Beats, and Sol Republic.

RadioShack reserves the Auvio name for use on products “where we see holes” in the market and where the company can “differentiate or innovate,” Lane said. He pointed to Sonic Emotion DSP technology in the company’s new AC-only Bluetooth speaker, the $199 60-watt HBT-6000. “There are very few Bluetooth speakers with Sonic Emotion,” he said of the technology. Sonic Emotion is promoted as analyzing the audio signal, recreating the width and depth of the performance as intended by the studio, and producing a room-wide stereo sweet spot.

Auvio is also positioned as offering “an incredible value for the price” and “healthfully aggressive” prices that also offer improved margins, he said. He contended the new $199 Bluetooth speaker, available in the latter half of June, competes in sound quality with $400-$500 Bluetooth speakers.

More Auvio products will appear in the fourth quarter with Sonic Emotion technology, including more AC-only Bluetooth speakers, he said.

The chain is considering wireless speakers that use Wi-Fi or proprietary wireless technologies to stream music from PCs and smartphones, Lane added.

The company’s newest Auvio-brand Bluetooth speakers include a $79 4-watt portable AC/DC model launched in October and a $129 20-watt portable AC/DC model available since early June.