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RadioShack slips to below $1 per share

 ANNE D'INNOCENZIO, AP Business Writers
MICHELLE CHAPMAN, AP Business Writers


NEW YORK (AP) — RadioShack's stock closed below $1 per share Friday for the first time in its history, reflecting investors' concern over what lies in store for the long-struggling consumer electronics chain.

Shares of RadioShack Corp. fell 11 cents, or 10 percent, to close at 92 cents. The New York Stock Exchange could delist the stock if it closes below $1 per share for 30 consecutive trading days.

The stock is well below its all-time high of $79.50, set in December 1999. The shares' sharp dive since then comes as RadioShack struggles to find its place in the evolving retail and technology landscape.

If shares remain below $1 and are delisted, that doesn't automatically mean RadioShack faces immediate death. Its stock could still be traded in the over-the-counter market.

But analysts say that a bankruptcy proceeding is likely for the company.

"There's no chance that this stays outside of a restructuring," said David Tawil, co-founder and portfolio manager of Maglan Capital, which follows distressed companies. He believes a formal liquidation is more likely. He added, "I don't think anybody will miss RadioShack if it goes out of business."

RadioShack did not immediately respond to an email from The Associated Press.

Long known as a destination for batteries and obscure electronic parts, RadioShack has sought to remake itself as a specialist in wireless devices and accessories. But growth in the wireless business is slowing, as more people have smartphones and see fewer reasons to upgrade.

RadioShack's turnaround efforts have included cutting costs, renovating and closing stores, and shuffling management. The Fort Worth, Texas-based company is attempting to update its image and remain competitive against online and discount retailers. It is working on adding new products, including private-brand and exclusive items such as those from new partnerships.

It hasn't helped stem the tide, and investors remain skittish. The stock is down 65 percent this year.

Earlier this month the chain reported that its first-quarter loss widened and revenue declined, hurt by softness in its mobile business and consumer electronics.

RadioShack has limited options to stem its sales declines given a tightening cash situation, according to Fitch Ratings. In a recent report, Fitch said that it expects negative free cash flow of $200 million to $250 million in 2014. That, together with the $100 million to $150 million it plans to spend on seasonal inventory, would "substantially eat into the company's total liquidity of $424 million as of May 13," according to Fitch.

"They're consuming a lot of cash in the core business, and that's not sustainable," said Philip Zahn, senior director at Fitch. "The clock is ticking."

 

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