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Tandy is dead. Long live Tandy

Carphone Warehouse kills much-loved brand

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We ran a story yesterday querying whether Tandy's online strategy had been pulled but the situation is far, far worse. At first, we couldn't, wouldn't believe it when reports came in that not only had Tandy's Web site been dead for several months but also huge numbers of Tandy shops have been shut down.

Delving in the bowels of Tandy's Web site, we found a list of Tandy stores - 269 of them in the UK (and, frankly, a landmark in many a town: "Take a left at the Tandy").

But so loved was the store of odds and ends that Reg director Drew immediately assured us that the Sittingbourne branch had shut down. And the one in Kilburn too. News ed Rob, decried the fact that Rochdale's store has closed too ("I bought my first radio-controlled car there", he exclaimed through welling eyes).

That's not all, either. This has broken hearts all over the UK. York? Dead and buried - it even had an "everything must go" sale. Loughborough? Gone. And we've another two reports of their local shops been shut down and taken over by mobile phone shops. And just now Reg MD Linus tells us that the Liverpool store has gone as well - also a mobile phone store.

And that is the answer, sad as it is. Carphone Warehouse bought the Tandy stores two years ago. And we can confirm that most, if not all of the stores have been replaced by - you've guessed it - Carphone Warehouses.

We contacted Carphone Warehouse to register our despair. It confirmed that over the last year it has been shutting down stores and turning them into mobile phone stores. The Tandy name won't be disappearing, but it already has in 220 of the 269 stores. And more are to follow.

The spokeswoman said that "some" of the remaining stores will be shut down, but some will continue trading. No, they haven't decided which yet. No, the Tandy name hasn't been strangled. No, the new stores will not feature the Tandy name. No, the new stores will not sell any of the traditional Tandy goods.

This has been a slow, calculated meltdown of a much-loved British brand. Carphone Warehouse certainly wouldn't have wanted the public to know that its purchase of the company was not a chance to wield the sword of Great Britain's electrical and component sub-culture, but rather a cynical attempt to get High Street presence.

This is truly a sad day for our nation. Where, O Lord, shall we buy our capacitors, our resistors, our police scanners, our little bits of cable and our childhood toys? Who shall we turn to for disjointed conversations with odd men that know only acronyms? Radio Spares, you say? Oh, okay. ®

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