The tough economic news never seems to stop and this week it seemed to not only rear its head but stand up on its hind legs. Earlier this week RadioShack announced they would be closing up to 1,100 stores and then on Thursday Staples announced that 225 stores will be closed.
In Marin County there are RadioShack stores in Novato, two in San Rafael and one in Corte Madera. The electronic chain has changed over the years from once selling volt meters and small parts to build electronic projects to now seeming to focus heavily on cell phones and TVs. The big office giant Staples which sells home and office supplies, printers and a selection of electronic items has stores in Novato and San Rafael.
Neither corporate announcement mentioned what stores would be closing. In a post-earnings call listed on Reuters Staples Chief Exeucutive Ronald Sargent chalked it up to a change in consumer habits and stiff competition.
"Our customers are using less office supplies, they're shopping less often in our stores and more online, and their focus on value has made the marketplace even more competitive."
RadioShack's condition is equally serious and a Reuters article states the reduction in stores would still leave the chain with over 4,000 locations. The retailer experienced a steep drop in sales over the Christmas holiday which caused uncertainty for the company's survival. Best Buy and Amazon.com are their main competitors.
Martin came to RadioShack to replace an MP3 player that broke while he was on a job painting a home. This was his first time at the store as he recently moved here from the Los Angeles area.
At the Broken Drum brewpub on Fourth Street, bartender Dick Jones said RadioShack was at the lower end of his list of where to get an electronic item. "If it's raining out and I can't get it anywhere else and I have to have it right now," is when he would go to RadioShack. He also said if he was going to a business event and needed an extra memory card and passed a RadioShack he would stop.
Over at Staples, Fred Pfeifer of San Rafael hopes his local store does not close. "I'd have to drive to Novato (Staples if the San Rafael location closed)."
He says he buys large amounts of computer paper and other items and would prefer making the 10 mile drive to Staples rather than the two mile drive to the Office Depot also in San Rafael.
Suzanne of San Rafael was another Staples customer. "I hope they don't close. I'd probably end up somewhere else and I don't like Office Depot for many reasons," she said.
With each chain having more than one store in Marin, it is possible that there could be fewer RadioShack and Staples stores than