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RadioShack Update: Sprint Unpacks Its Bags

OVERLAND PARK, KAN. — Sprint and RadioShack are officially roommates.

The carrier, which earlier this year forged a joint leasing deal with the chain’s new owners, has taken up residency within all 1,435 targeted stores.

According to Sprint’s first-quarter investor update, the stores have all been co-branded with Sprint and RadioShack logos, and Sprint employees are manning the carrier-designated areas inside.

Under the arrangement, Sprint is opening and staffing 600-square-foot in-store shops and will serve as RadioShack’s sole wireless carrier in the designated stores. To date, only about a quarter of the co-branded locations have been remodeled with fully operational Sprint shops, although the balance is expected to updated by year’s end.

The sections occupy about a third of the sales floor, and Sprint is responsible for building, equipping, staffing and supplying them, as well as for postsale customer support. The carrier keeps any revenue generated by the shops, and is paying RadioShack a portion of the rent for the leased real estate.

Sprint’s is the dominant brand on the 1,435 stores, occupying about 60 percent of the exterior signage, and is also the focal point in any store advertising and shopping center marquees.

Sprint said the move allowed it to more than double its retail footprint in one fell swoop.

Another 308 RadioShack locations are leased and operated solely by General Wireless, an operational affiliate of hedge fund Standard General, which bought the business for $160 million last March in a bankruptcy auction.

An additional 600 or so franchised stores are run by independent dealers.

Separately, Sprint is also opening 20 pilot showrooms in select U.S. markets in a management deal with European CE dealer Dixons Carphones. Dixons forerunner Carphone Warehouse was instrumental in developing Best Buy’s mobile business under a 50-50 joint venture that was eventually dissolved.