Amazon may be eyeing RadioShack stores as a way to expand its online operations into the brick-and-mortar world, according to Bloomberg.
Hit by plummeting sales over the past few years, RadioShack is reportedly, unnamed sources told Bloomberg on Monday. The retail chain may also be close to filing for bankruptcy, according to other reports. However, Amazon may be looming as a potential player.
Amazon has been discussing the acquisition of some RadioShack stores after the chain files for bankruptcy, "two people with knowledge of the matter" told Bloomberg. If true, Amazon would use the stores to showcase and promote its own hardware and as pick-up and drop-off centers for its online shoppers, one of the sources added.
Moving beyond its Kindle tablets and e-book readers, Amazon has been introducing more hardware products with its Fire TV stick, Fire phone and. Retail outlets would give the company an opportunity to not only show off its products but to interact with customers, the same way Apple and Microsoft use their own brick-and-mortar stores.
With its business struggling over the past few years, RadioShack has tried to revamp its image as a parts and gadgets store into a general consumer electronics store selling smartphones, tablets, computers and similar devices. But the revamp has failed to attract enough customers, forcing the chain tolast year.
RadioShack began as a single store started by two brothers in 1921 to sell ship equipment and ham radios. The company currently has more than 4,000 stores in the US. Sprint has talked about buying 1,300 to 2,000 of those stores, Bloomberg's sources said. The sources didn't reveal any details about how many stores Amazon might be eyeing.
Amazon has already dipped its toes into the offline world by opening kiosks, vending machines and lockers where customers can pick up different products. The company also has a "pop-up" store in San Francisco where shoppers can check out Kindle e-Readers, Fire tablets, Amazon Fire TV and Fire phones.
Amazon did not immediately respond to CNET's request for comment. RadioShack declined to comment.