Report: Circuit City Mulling Closure of 150 Stores, Massive Job Cuts
October 20, 2008 3:02 PM
comment(s) - last by
This one is going to hurt
Circuit City, the nation's second largest electronics retailer, has been struggling badly in its attempt to compete with industry leader Best Buy. It replaced its chief executive last month and withdrew its financial outlook for the entire year citing traffic declines, stronger competition and a weak brand, along with a particularly large second quarter loss. Since Q2 2007, Circuit City has only been profitable for one quarter.
Wall Street Journal
report, citing sources close to the company, says that
drastic measures may be taken
to put the electronics retailer back on course. Circuit City is reportedly considering closing 150 stores and cutting thousands of employees. The move would allow Circuit City to liquidate $350M USD in assets and possibly avoid Chapter 11 bankruptcy.
The cuts could help Circuit City pay off its leases on its various properties, including its abandoned sites and then renegotiate leases on the remaining stores.
However, the company may consider Chapter 11 bankruptcy protection as an alternative to or in addition to the possible closures. The company has reportedly hired Skadden, Arps, Slate, Meagher & Flom LLP as its bankruptcy counsel, the firm that handled Kmart's Chapter 11 filing. It has also hired FTI Consulting Inc. to generate an emergency turnaround plan, and Rothschild Inc. to seek out emergency financing in the banking market.
Early this year, Blockbuster Inc. made a
$1.35B USD bid for Circuit City
bid was later withdrawn
, with Blockbuster citing market changes. With the recent troubles another merger may not be out of the question, though.
Shares of Circuit City stock have dropped 90.7 percent since the year's start due to the plethora of bad news.
Circuit City's current predicament may remind many of CompUSA’s decline. At its peak, CompUSA had hundreds of locations. Faced with falling sales, the company was
sold and closed virtually all of its locations
. The company brand and its 16 remaining stores
were bought by Systemax
, owner of the e-tailer TigerDirect. The CompUSA brand currently has 23 open stores.
If Circuit City were to exit the market,
Best Buy would have a virtual monopoly
over large, nationwide brick-and-mortar electronics stores. It would still face competition, though from smaller stores like Fry's, RadioShack, and the remnants of CompUSA and Circuit City. It would also continue to face growing pressure from online retailers like Newegg who have shown steady growth.
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RE: Mixed bag.
10/20/2008 4:58:24 PM
Hmmm...well, I've returned things to Fry's before without hassle...and at Micro Center too. That's the extent of what I can say about their customer service. Can't comment on how they treat their employees, as I have not been one and don't know any...although I reckon it's probably not unreasonable to expect them to be more-or-less like the rest of the retail industry (likely somewhat sucky). The staff at Micro Center do seem generally knowledgable too, as opposed to the know-nothings typically working at BBY etc.
From a pure consumer point of view though, their prices are darn close to on-line a lot of the time (especially Micro Center), and they tend to have a good selection to choose from. So from my standpoint as a consumer, either are vastly preferable to BBY or any other B&M place.
Ironically, I noticed a lot of CompUSA branded stuff on sale at the Micro Center (not really) near mer a while ago.
RE: Mixed bag.
10/22/2008 12:07:05 AM
Anytime you go to a retail store, you're going to find that a majority of the employees don't have a clue what they're talking about. The reason is really simple: They don't pay enough to get knowledgeable and committed people. You aren't going to find a bunch of people who know everything about computers that are willing to work for $10.50 an hour.
At the Best Buy I work at, I've actually heard employees say (in regard to a sale/product info etc), "They don't pay me enough to care." In a way, it's true. The amount of work I do as a tech there isn't worth what they pay me IMO. I could find an entry-level IT support job somewhere else and make about $10K more a year and do a lot less work, as well as take a lot less abuse from people upset at me for things that are out of my control (prices, policies, etc). If things go right, that's exactly what I'm going to do.
"Intel is investing heavily (think gazillions of dollars and bazillions of engineering man hours) in resources to create an Intel host controllers spec in order to speed time to market of the USB 3.0 technology." -- Intel blogger Nick Knupffer
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