Circuit City will return sometime this year with no more than 100 brick-and-mortar stores to start with. This will make the third grand opening for Circuit City since it first launched in the early 1980s by founder Samuel S. Wurtzel. If Circuit City returns, the first store will open in June, more than likely somewhere around Dallas, Texas, according to Twice Magazine on Wednesday.
Ronny Shmoel, along with Albert Liniado, says the third time Circuit City returns will be the charm. Shmoel, a retail veteran from New York, bought the brand Circuit City in October of last year after Systemax, Inc. dropped the online Circuit City storefront in 2012. Systemax tried to keep the Circuit City brand alive for nearly three years via the CircuitCity.com retail website.
But, after more than 60 years in use, Circuit City was officially consolidated with another online brand at the end of 2012. Circuit City, along with CompUSA, also owned by Systemax, Inc., merged with the TigerDirect brand on November 2, 2012. This merger officially put the Circuit City brand back on the market.
Shmoel viewed that as an opportunity to try to revive Circuit City brick-and-mortar retail stores, as well as all brick-and-mortar retail shopping in general, which has taken a big hit due to the growing popularity of online retail shopping. E-commerce has quickly overtaken conventional brick-and-mortar stores over the last decade, especially with the launch of the Internet-based retail giant Amazon in 1995.
As a well-known brand to millennials, Circuit City returns with very little negativity surrounding it.
“The name really resonates very well with everybody. It’s been out of the negative press for a while already. We did some polls and found that the age groups between 25-35 know the brand,” says new Circuit City CEO, Ronny Shmoel.
Shmoel himself admits that he’s a part of the Millennial Generation, also known as Generation Y, and he thinks he can predict the behavior of his peers, who were all born from the 1980s to the early 2000s, fairly accurately. For now, Shmoel, 38, plans to ditch the idea of large Circuit City superstores, opting for fewer and smaller physical stores selling smaller gadgets, such as gaming accessories, printers, and tablets. Shmoel believes millennial consumers will actually take the time to visit a brick-and-mortar store to quickly grab a small device.
When Circuit City returns this year, Shmoel will also re-launch the Circuit City website and offer some lower cost private label products. According to Liniado, who boasts more than 20 years in business development as a VP, he and Shmoel want to bring profitability back into traditional retail street shopping with the return of Circuit City.
Circuit City was once the second largest electronics retailer in the United States behind Best Buy. Circuit City opened as a superstore in 1981 in Richmond, Virginia with Pluggie the mascot and a slogan that promised state of the art service. But Circuit City’s revenue began to drop in the late 1990s with competition from Best Buy, Sears, Lowe’s, and Home Depot. Stores were also becoming outdated, wages were lowered, and salespeople were laid off. Circuit City finally filed for bankruptcy in 2008 and closed all of its stores in 2009.
One month after Circuit City’s final date of operation, Systemax, Inc. bought the Circuit City brand, trademark, and website, operating only the e-commerce site until 2012 when it dropped Circuit City altogether. Shmoel formed a new Circuit City Corporation in January 2016 after a purchase from Systemax in October 2015 for not much less than $17 million.
PC World reports that as early as next year, Circuit City will return more than six years after closing with between 50 to 100 brick-and-mortar boutique stores nationwide.
[Image via Wikimedia Commons/Cculber007]