A group that first ran a RadioShack franchise in El Salvador in 1998 now owns a majority stake in the brand. Unicomer Group has acquired its intellectual property and domains in about 70 countries, including the U.S. and Canada, Europe and China, for an undisclosed amount.
Previously, in 2015, Unicomer had acquired RadioShack’s brands, intellectual property and existing franchise agreements for Central America, South America and the Caribbean, according to a company press release.
It’s unclear whether Retail Ecommerce Ventures, which acquired RadioShack’s IP in late 2020, retains a stake. Last year REV licensed the brand for a cryptocurrency venture dubbed RadioShack Swap, a separate company from RadioShack.
Last year, as REV launched RadioShack Swap, Executive Chairman Tai Lopez also announced that the company was wrapping up “a technology-forward redesign of RadioShack.com.”
"We're updating the look and feel to be smarter and cooler, with digital products like storage wallets and NFTs as well as crypto merch by amazing artists," he said in a statement then. "The crypto scene is bursting with creativity, and we're thrilled to make RadioShack.com a central marketplace and consumer-facing hub."
Instead, Unicomer intends to open another chapter for RadioShack, which in the U.S. has struggled to regain its former status as a cult retailer for computer components and other electronics. Rudy Siman, director and vice president of franchises of Unicomer Group, said in a statement that the company has already “led a successful expansion strategy for the brand.”
“This acquisition will allow us to start another phase of growth and innovation in the shopping experience with the latest technology,” Siman said. “We have consolidated the franchise we have been operating for 25 years and through which we have generated thousands of employment opportunities in Central America, South America, and the Caribbean.”
Neither REV nor Lopez immediately returned a request for comment on this sale, including questions about whether REV retains any stake in RadioShack. Neither Unicomer nor Lopez returned a request for comment about whether RadioShack Swap will continue to operate.
The sale to Unicomer, which took place in May, adds to questions swirling about Retail Ecommerce Ventures’ operations. The company has amassed an impressive portfolio of familiar retail, including, in addition to RadioShack and others, Dressbarn, Pier 1, Stein Mart, Modell’s Sporting Goods and Linens ’n Things. On its website, REV promises to “transform well-known undervalued retail brands into ecommerce success stories,” though so far there’s little evidence of major transformation.
Off-price retailer Tuesday Morning, a $35 million REV investment last year, earlier this year was sold to Hilco Merchant Resources for $32 million as part of Tuesday Morning’s bankruptcy. In July the retailer converted its Chapter 11 to Chapter 7, choosing to liquidate after half a century.