Circuit City: Back and better than ever?
Does anyone remember Circuit City? For a while there, they were big. Like, all-over-the-map kind of big. Circuit City filled a niche much the same way Best Buy does today. But there’s no accounting for taste: Things change, you become yesterday’s news and before we knew it Circuit City was history. The multimedia chain actually bit the dust twice because they regrouped under new management and mounted a comeback of sorts as an online entity and still imploded.
Well, maybe the third time’s the charm because Circuit City is back and ready to get into the electronics and media arena one more time.
Under new management
In a way, Circuit City is kind of like one of those old Hollywood movie franchises that get resurrected or updated every couple of years: The logic is that there’s a built-in audience so you’re not specifically starting from scratch. So it is with Circuit City.
In this case, according to twice.com, Ronny Shmoel, who purchased the Circuit City brand, name domain and associated trademarks from Systemax in October and formed Circuit City Corporation and Albert Liniado, vice president of business development for the new Circuit City have an ambitious, multi-tiered game plan for the store that calls for retail outlets, web sales, branded and private-label products, licensed kiosks, mobile shops and franchise opportunities, all under the iconic red-and-white banner.
Small but profitable?
An article in the online version of the Richmond-Times Dispatch points out that the new Circuit City will “embrace MAP and UPP pricing, build margins into its private-label assortment, and will stick to a small-box retail format in affordable yet densely-populated real estate markets.”
In the short term, plans call for 50 to 100 corporate-owned stores to be up and running by next year with an additional 100 to 200 franchised locations eventually added. But plans for the new, revamped Circuit City don’t end there. Twice.com explains that other brick-and-mortar offshoots will include “a franchised, 1,500-square-foot Circuit City Mobile concept, and turn-key Circuit City Express sections, offering kiosks, end caps, slot walls and in-store displays.” In terms of merchandise, the Express shops will feature an assortment of conveniently priced headphones and accessories that can be accessed via convenience stores, college bookstores, hardware stores and even pharmacies.
Not your father’s media store
The new Circuit City will be targeted directly at the demographic that counts the most when it comes to technology: the millennials. The Circuit City merchandise menu, according to twice.com, will include pre- and postpaid smartphones, as well as tablets, notebooks, networking equipment, gaming products, headphones, drones, 3D printers, health appliances, and DIY devices, all supplemented by a service desk, electronic price tags and touchscreen terminals that link customers with what is envisioned as a million-SKU selection online.
If history has proven one thing, it’s that you should never throw in the towel on a former champion. Circuit City’s glory days may be behind it, but the potential for even bigger paydays still lie ahead.