Amazon.com has long been trying to boost its physical presence in the real world, and this could be its biggest move yet: Bloomberg, citing multiple insiders, reports that the online retailer is in talks to acquire some RadioShack storefronts. RadioShack has been struggling and is expected to file for bankruptcy (NYSE suspended trading of its stock yesterday), and Amazon would use the locations in much the way it has previously planned to use a brick-and-mortar store: Amazon hardware would be showcased there, and online customers may also be able to pick up and drop off items. It would be "Amazon's biggest push into traditional retail," Bloomberg says; Business Insider notes that, other than temporary "pop-up shops" and Kindle vending machines, none of Amazon's brick-and-mortar plans have yet come to fruition.
Other bidders, including Sprint, are looking at buying some RadioShack stores, and Sprint may even co-brand the locations it buys with RadioShack, sources say; in such a deal, RadioShack would close the locations it doesn't sell. It's also possible another bidder will buy RadioShack and prevent liquidation entirely. But if the Amazon plan does become reality, having physical stores does "kill two of the most oft-quoted problems with online shopping: no way to see products in the flesh before hitting buy, and the necessity of being home to receive packages," writes Chris Mills on Gizmodo. "Brick-and-mortar stores would solve some of those problems, and RadioShack has a ready-made selection of retail space, plus employees who *might* know something about electronics (one of the top-selling Amazon categories)."