The Lost Greatness of Radio Shack: Private Brand

Radio Shack TRS 80

Long floundering electronics retailer, Radio Shack finally filed for bankruptcy this past week and announced corresponding store closures and sales. Readers like me who grew up in the 70’s and early 80’s remember Radio Shack as a magical place filled with parts, gizmos and gadgets galore and the first personal computer that many of us had ever seen. And low and behold much of it was private brand from the TRS-80 computer to the Realistic transistor radio and what kid did not want a “Science Fair Project Kit”

Check out these vintage commercials that prove that private brand has value and can be a true differentiator – it makes me wonder how they lost their way and how private brands at Radio Shack lost their relevance and “gee whiz” cool factor.

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Christopher Durham is the president of My Private Brand and the co-founder of The Vertex Awards. He is a strategist, author, consultant and retailer who built brands at Delhaize-owned Food Lion, and lead strategy and brand development for Lowe’s Home Improvement. He has consulted with retailers around the world on their private brand portfolios including: Family Dollar, Petco, Staples, Office Depot, Best Buy, Metro (Canada), TLW (Taiwan) and Hola (Taiwan). Durham has published five definitive books on private brands, including his first book, Fifty2: The My Private Brand Project. In 2017, he will debut his newest book, Vanguard: Vintage Originals, a visual tour of innovation and disruption in private brand going back to the mid-1800’s. Dynamic in his presentation while down to earth and frank in his opinions, he has presented at numerous conferences, including FUSE, The Dieline Conference, Packaging that Sells, Omnishopper and PLMA’a annual trade show in Chicago. Durham lives in Charlotte, NC with his wife, Laraine, and two daughters, Olivia and Sarah.