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According to a number of promotional leaks and Radio Shack itself, struggling retailer Radio Shack is looking to rebrand itself “The Shack.” The new title will appear on displays and signs for the company–a change set to completely take hold by year’s end.

Somewhat frustratingly, it’s not precisely clear whether Radio Shack will formally change its name to “The Shack,” including signage that appears on stores and in advertisements. Radio Shack’s corporate headquarters replied to a Gearlog inquiry by sending us a press release, but did not respond to followup requests for comment.

An employee at a local Radio Shack store, however, told Gearlog that “The Shack” would be used strictly as a branding nickname, while the familiar “Radio Shack” would continue to appear. “We’re not changing our name,” she said.

That appears to be in sync with a statement issued as part of the press release.

“Trust is a critical attribute of any successful retailer, and the reality is that most people trust friends, not corporations,” said Lee Applbaum, RadioShack’s chief marketing officer, in a statement. “When a brand becomes a friend, it often gets a nickname – take FedEx or Coke, for example. Our customers, associates and even the investor community have long referred to RadioShack as ‘THE SHACK,’ so we decided to embrace that fact and share it with the world. This creative is not about changing our name. Rather, we’re contemporizing the way we want people to think about our brand. THE SHACK speaks to consumers in a fresh, new voice and distinctive creative look that reinforces RadioShack’s authority in innovative products, leading brands and knowledgeable, helpful associates.”

The rebranding is likely an attempt to move into a broader retail space, in order to compete with retailers like Best Buy. The company has already been edging toward a focus on consumer electronics like notebooks and smartphones, rather than the components and electronics its more traditionally associated with.

Radio Shack also announced Netogether, an event taking place in New York City’s Times Square and San Francisco’s Justin Herman Plaza on August 6, 7, and 8. Two “17-foot laptop computers” will apparently be connected via “Webcams” with celebrities and live entertainment.

Radio Shack also announced a partnership with Lance Armstrong and his Livestrong campaign.

Additional reporting by Mark Hachman; update with Radio Shack’s confirmation added at 5:04 PM.


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