It’s been some two weeks since RadioShack officially announced its bankruptcy, and there’s still one major question left unanswered: What’s happening with Amazon?
Rumors circulated in the days before the bankruptcy that Amazon was interested in acquiring some of the store leases, but when the smoke cleared Amazon was nowhere to be found. Instead, RadioShack’s leading debtor/investor is going to peel off between 1,500 and 2,400 of the 4,000 RS stores in the US, and then sublet space in around 1,700 stores to Sprint.
If Amazon is still interested, no one is talking.
I was reminded of that silence earlier today when Janet Asteroff pondered on Mediashift on the topic of what Amazon might do with the space:
It is widely believed that Amazon will want some of the remaining stores for their advantageous real estate locations to provide the e-commerce giant with a physical venue for products and services.
If Amazon were to buy RadioShack locations now, or establish a physical presence at some point in the future, what are the likely outcomes and what would we like to see happen?
The short answer is that Asteroff thought that Amazon would use the former RS spaces in much the same way that it is using the unstore it launched on the Purdue University campus earlier this month (although Asteroff didn’t explicitly make the connection).
I happen to agree with the conclusion that Amazon would use the space for delivery/returns, customer service, and so on, but I’m not so sure that I share her assumption that everyone believes that Amazon is still interested.
I was expecting to hear the news 12 days ago, and when it didn’t happen I began to doubt that it would. And as each week goes by without any rumors, much less an announcement, I think the odds that Amazon is still pursuing the option continues to shrink.
But I could be wrong; what do you think?