Shopping mall
Shopping mall

TORONTO – The Source is staging a transformation to turn its stores into electronics playgrounds in an effort to boost sales as the consumer technology industry faces pressure on multiple fronts, including big-box retailers and the ease of online shopping.

The company formerly known as Radio Shack is in the midst of overhauling its stores, doing away with walls of boxed products in favour of a new aesthetic with a more modern flair – bright lights, wider aisles and even wood accents.

It is setting up interactive displays to allow customers to connect their smartphones into headphones and speakers so they can test the sound with music they enjoy rather than a store-selected soundtrack, said Charles Brown, president of the Source.

The first revamped store opened in the Yorkdale Shopping Centre in Toronto in 2015. The Source is aiming to complete the renovations at more than half of its 550 locations by the end of the year.

The reality, Brown said, is that the Source needs to adapt to a world where consumer electronics are no longer found exclusively at specialty outlets – they can be bought at convenience stores, gas stations and other retail pit stops, not to mention online.

“Retail now, there’s just so much disruption,” Brown said in an interview.