Talk about an about-face in stock price. Struggling retailer RadioShack's (NYSE:RSH) shares jumped 23% Friday after it announced Julian Day as its new CEO. So who is this Day guy, and will he help bring investors happier days at RadioShack?

Based purely on RadioShack's weak operating metrics year after year, it hasn't been worthy of investment consideration. But eventually, if things get bad enough for any company, it can amass significant turnaround potential, implying that the company may be a potentially lucrative value play. A new CEO can prove just the right catalyst for turning a corner to improved results, and RadioShack has been in dire need of a change of direction. Enter turnaround specialist Day.

RadioShack bulls love that Day has arguably the best turnaround experience in the business. He brought perennial underperformer Kmart out of the largest retail bankruptcy ever, restoring it to profitability before handing the reins to Edward Lampert for the Sears Holdings (NASDAQ:SHLD) merger. Day is known for his knack for cost-cutting, as opposed to growing a business through greater sales or store expansion. That strategy may prove a good fit at RadioShack, which states that it already has a store within five minutes of nearly every consumer in the U.S.

Day's cost-first approach to running a retailer is gaining credence among his fellow corporate leaders. Witness Lampert's own influence on his previous employers AutoZone (NYSE:AZO) and AutoNation (NYSE:AN); both have come to drive EPS growth by lowering costs as their own store growth has matured.

Day's appointment is clearly a positive, but the difficult task of delivering on lofty expectations remains. Day must turn around a company that has grown sales a meager 1.2% over the past five years, with no earnings growth over that same time frame. Recent results have been even worse; RadioShack's stock price has fallen nearly 30% year to date, and even more since 2000.

Fools frequently refer to a company's economic moat -- its ability to consistently surpass competitors' returns over the long haul. Wal-Mart's (NYSE:WMT) laser focus on logistical efficiency to drive everyday low pricing creates its moat, while Costco (NASDAQ:COST) gains strength from its membership warehouse business model and its focus on selling a limited number of desirable goods at extremely low prices. In contrast, RadioShack's model has been undifferentiated and reactive, pursuing uninspired avenues such as mobile phone services or a more recent focus on iPod accessories. Despite numerous efforts, thus far the company has been unsuccessful in finding a retail strategy that lets it stand out in a crowded electronics retailing space.

That said, the stock is not too expensive, and it offers decent returns on assets and capital when considering net income as the numerator in the calculation. If Day is able to work his magic one more time, enhancing RadioShack's current strategy of closing underperforming stores to boost profitability, further upside is a real possibility. And just think what the potential could be if other operational improvements stick, or if same-store sales growth returns to positive levels. Hope springs eternal in certain value plays. Let's see whether this one pans out.

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Fool contributor Ryan Fuhrmann has no financial interest in any company mentioned. Feel free to email him with feedback or to discuss the company further. The Fool has an ironclad disclosure policy.