Sprint opens stores within 1,435 RadioShack locations

Stores will be branded Sprint, and 3,500 workers will be hired

Sprint on Friday will open retail operations in 1,435 RadioShack stores that were recently acquired by General Wireless as a result of a RadioShack bankruptcy action.

Sprint announced Thursday that it will occupy about one-third of the space inside each store, but will eventually be the primary brand shown in signs and marketing materials.

For RadioShack, it is a "win-win" arrangement, said RadioShack CEO Ron Garriques in a statement. The partnership with Sprint will enable RadioShack to "continue to provide a trusted destination for millions of our loyal consumers." With the deal, Sprint enlarges its retail footprint while both companies get immediate access to each other's customers, he added.

The Sprint-RadioShack stores will sell smartphones such as the new Samsung Galaxy S6 and other devices across the Sprint postpaid and prepaid portfolio, alongside typical RadioShack products and accessories.

A Sprint spokesman said the expansion will more than double Sprint's 1,100 stores. "We anticipate hiring about 3,500 additional people to staff them," spokesman Scott Sloat said via email. "These will be new Sprint jobs. The concept is a store within a store."

Sloat said it isn't clear if any of the new Sprint employees will be former RadioShack workers, since hires haven't been made yet. Sprint's current headcount is about 30,000.

In coming months, Sprint will co-brand all of the new locations with Sprint-branded storefronts, the company said. "Customers value the ability to walk into a neighborhood Sprint store near where they live and work," said Sprint CEO Marcelo Claure.

General Wireless, an affiliate of Standard General, last week acquired 1,743 RadioShack stores as a result of a RadioShack bankruptcy. Sprint will be a co-tenant in 1,435 of those stores, occupying about one-third of the space, but Sprint will be the primary brand used in marketing and signage.

In addition to Sprint devices and services, the 1,435 stores will also sell devices and services for affiliates Boost Mobile and Virgin Mobile.

RadioShack, formerly Tandy Corp., was founded in 1921 and filed for Chapter 11 bankruptcy protection in February after 11 consecutive quarterly losses. A U.S. bankruptcy court in Delaware last week approved the takeover by Standard General as the result of an auction process. Standard General, a hedge fund, said it planned to keep open 1,743 stores out of about 4,000 RadioShack locations.

About 7,500 of RadioShack's 27,000 jobs are expected to remain.

Before the Standard General takeover, RadioShack's biggest creditor, Salus Capital Partners, wanted to liquidate RadioShack. Salus reportedly owned the RadioShack name and its customer data, including more than 13 million email addresses and 65 million customer names and physical addresses. New York's attorney general recently said he would take legal action if the personal data was sold off.

Sprint's agreement with Standard General does not include the RadioShack customer data, according to the Sprint spokesman. Salus didn't immediately respond to comment.

Copyright © 2015 IDG Communications, Inc.

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