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Retail Trends

Electronics & Entertainment

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Even the passing of co-founder and visionary leader Steve Jobs couldn’t slow Apple. The company’s financials have continued on their upward trajectory in the first half of the current fiscal year, with earnings nearly doubling in the second quarter. iPhone and iPad sales have softened in domestic markets, but as investor Jack Ablin, chief investment officer of Harris Private Bank in Chicago, said of the company’s second-quarter performance, “This report should erase any doubt in investors’ minds that this company can’t continue to deliver.”

Both Apple and Amazon.com, the second-largest Electronics & Entertainment Power Player retailer by sales, ring up considerable volume selling online. Apple, however, not only operates its own network of bricks-and-mortar stores; it also works with fellow Power Players like Target. In contrast, Amazon seems to be on a mission to rid the world of physical store retailing. Another non-store Power Player, QVC, also seems content to stick to its business model and co-exist with physical stores.

Radio Shack isn’t turning its back on the electronics world, but it certainly wants to avoid waging toe-to-toe battle with the likes of Apple and Amazon. Instead, the company is revisiting its roots, coaxing back the tinkerers, DIY-ers and inventors who helped build its parts-and-tools business into the country’s largest electronics chain by store count.

“I think it makes sense for them to go back and attract that customer,” says Doug Fleener, who follows the company for Dynamic Experiences Group. Still, Fleener wonders just how viable the hobby market is. “The upcoming generation has lived online all their life,” he says. “Are they going to be that” committed to the hobby?

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