FORT WORTH, TEXAS –
RadioShack chairman/CEO Julian Day will leave behind unfinished business when he retires next quarter after nearly five years at the helm of the 6,500-store chain.
While righting the company’s financial and operational ship, he, like the chain’s other recent chief executives, was ultimately unable to delineate a focused merchandising strategy, nor clearly define the retailer’s role in the CE marketplace.
That task will fall to chief financial officer Jim Gooch, who has been promoted to president and will succeed Day as CEO in May. As Gooch noted during a Goldman Sachs retailing conference last fall, the company has bolstered its legacy cellular business to capitalize on the burgeoning smartphone and mobile broadband categories by remodeling stores, adding iPhones and carrier TMobile, and providing wireless services for Target.
But much of its assortment, particularly in A/V, remains in flux. “Some categories are not performing as well as we’d like,” acknowledged Day, “and we’re working through the assortment in each category to make sure it’s right for our stores and to merchandise it in a way that makes sense for our customers.”
Gooch said RadioShack is undergoing a series of product transitions, led by chief merchandising officer Scott Young and his recently formed merchandising team, after which the company “should be better defined as to what we stand for in those categories.”
Day, a retail turnaround specialist with a reputation for slashing costs, joined RadioShack in 2006 and led an overhaul of the company that initially included staff cuts and store closures. He also streamlined operations, launched “The Shack” rebranding campaign to attract a younger customer base, and reportedly tried but failed to find a buyer for the 6,500-store chain. “
Julian has led RadioShack through a significant business transformation,” presiding board director Daniel Feehan, president /CEO of Cash America International, who will become nonexecutive board chairman upon Day’s retirement. “His highly disciplined approach to cost control and focus on profitability has greatly strengthened our balance sheet and financial foundation.”
Gooch, 43, joined RadioShack in his current position in August 2006 and has been responsibility for a broad range of functions including finance, global sourcing and supply chain management including inventory planning, information technology, real estate, investor relations, public relations and human resources.
Prior to joining RadioShack, Gooch spent 10 years at Kmart Holding Corp. under Day, who had variously served as president, COO and CEO.
Day will formally step down as chief executive, and will relinquish his seat on the board, at the company’s annual shareholder meeting in May.
RadioShack paired the announcement with preliminary results for the fourth quarter ending Dec. 31, 2010. Comp sales at U.S. company-owned stores and kiosks rose about 1 percent, driven by wireless, although consolidated gross margin declined due to weakness in the T-Mobile business, a higher mix of lowmargin handsets, and markdowns.