Retailers & Distributors

Chinese Company Buys Ingram Micro

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Ingram Micro HQOut of the blue sea, Tianjin Tianhai from China announced it will buy Ingram-Micro, the world's largest technology distributor for $6 billion.

$6 billion for a $46 billion company tells you a lot about the business of high tech distribution. But this story is not about the HOW MUCH but more about the WHO and the WHY.

Tianjin Tianhai began as a humble marine shipping company and turned itself into a modern logistic industry investor and operator, focusing on investment in logistics, supply chain and management-- and financing service for the logistic industry.


RadioShack Returns to Roots

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CEO Ron Garriques says he’s returning RadioShack to its roots as “the neighborhood source” for electronics.

Ron Garriques CEO RadioShackBut is is too late? RadioShack lost most of 2015, fighting bankruptcy and finding a buyer (a group lead by Standard General, an American hedge fund specializing in distressed debt).

The company downsized from 7000 to 1700 (but 1400 of those are co-managed by Sprint, leaving the company only 300 "own" outlets.)

It also kept more than 500 of its approximately 850 independent, franchised RadioShack dealers following its bankruptcy sale.

Black Friday in USA marks the transformation as the chain described its pre-Thanksgiving sale as “a thank you to our loyal customers — particularly those who don’t like to get trampled at big-box stores on Black Friday.”

“We know the past year has been difficult on the RadioShack community, with our shelves recently missing that one-off electronics component, cable or connector you needed or that mini drone you were searching for,” acknowledged CEO Ron Garriques in an interview with USA Today. “But now we are stronger than ever and fully restocked with over 20 million new units and proud to return to our roots as the neighborhood source for affordable and cutting-edge electronics.”

RadioShack store

Garriques served as President, Global Consumer Business, for Dell. He was responsible for Dell’s portfolio of consumer products, including desktops, laptops, tablets and mobiles at the time.

Before that, Garriques was at Motorola, heading mobile devices, where a lot of fingers pointed his way for the demise of Motorola during the RAZR days.

That failed stint as Executive Vice President and President, Mobile Devices Business at Motorola doesn't necessarily detract from his ability to lead Radio Shack to success... but generally manufacturing execs make terrible retail bosses.

Yet the new positioning of the stores (back to the future!) sounds right to us. [Read our previous RadioShack editorial.] 

But with the majority of outlets being co-managed by Sprint and a CEO from mobile manufacturing, will RadioShack shake off its mobile phone centricity?

Go See RadioShacks' Black Friday deals

Brussels Apple Store Opens

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As previously announced Apple opens the first Store in Brussels on 19 September 2015-- the first with a "next generation" store interior overseen by chief design officer Jony Ive.

Apple Store BrusselsLocated at Avenue de la Toison d'Or, the Store is designed by Foster & Capital. It features huge curved glass panes on the facade, while inside a single giant display replaces the typical backlit screen panels.

The interior also includes two rows of real potted trees, light boxes extending the length of the ceiling, wooden accessory shelves and touch-sensitive sequoia wood tables.


Dubai Apple Store Faces Delay

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The opening of the first Apple Store in the United Arab Emirates (UAE) gets pushed back by "at least a month" to October 2015, The National reports, even as the company plans to open more outlets in the region.

Apple Store UAEThe Dubai Mall of Emirates is to house the first UAE Apple Store. The company is also reportedly planning to open a second location in the Dubai Mall, as well an Abu Dhabi store.

News of the store opening delay comes as Bloomberg reports Apple managed to get an exemption from UAE foreign ownership laws-- according to "two people with knowledge of the matter" Apple will get 100% of operation ownership in the region.


Apple Watches Reaches Fnac

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France's Fnac joins a fairly exclusive club by becoming one of the few third party retailers selling the Apple Watch, with initial sales taking place at the retailer's Champ Elysees outlet and

Apple Watch FnacThe retailer says employees will get special training for an Apple Store-style experience before sales expand to 50 other locations in the coming weeks.

So far only a few luxury boutiques (such as the Galeries Lafayette) can offer the Watch outside of Apple Stores. The situation is similar in the rest of the world-- N. American mega CE chain Best Buy only got the right to sell the wearable device earlier in August.