After four years in limbo, Circuit City is making a comeback. In June 2016, the electronics brand is expected to open its first store in the Dallas metropolitan area, as well as relaunch CircuitCity.com, according to Twice.
Circuit City initially filed for bankruptcy in 2008 and closed its last store in 2009, but tried to resurrect the brand by operating exclusively online. That endeavor didn’t pan out, and the brand officially folded in 2012.
The timing of the brand relaunch is peculiar; former competitor RadioShack has continued to struggle staying afloat since initially filing for bankruptcy in February 2015, with its CEO and Chief Revenue Officer stepping down in January after less than a year on the job.
Best Buy, Walmart and Amazon appear to have a stranglehold on the consumer electronics industry, making any entry difficult, especially a brand that has taken as many hits as Circuit City.
Two longtime retail execs, Ronny Shmoel and Albert Liniado, are spearheading the initiative to revive the brand. In October 2015, Shmoel acquired the Circuit City brand, domain and associated trademarks from IT and computer hardware provider Systemax, which had initially purchased the properties in 2009 for $14 million. Shmoel previously served as the CEO of Royal Group International, a global sourcing and distribution provider.
Liniado, the retailer’s new VP of Business Development, has an extensive background in electronics sales, having co-founded DataVision Computer Video and operated as its President for more than 20 years. He most recently served as CEO of e-Commerce platform provider Seldat Direct.
Shmoel expects to open 50 to 100 corporate-owned stores by 2017, and eventually to open an additional 100 to 200 franchised locations.
The retail landscape has undergone a massive change since Circuit City last opened its stores, giving Shmoel, Liniado and their assembled team a hefty challenge moving forward. Shmoel plans on working with Sony to create kiosks in the stores that carry wearables, mobile devices and gaming options.
The stores will be targeted to Millennials, will range from 2,000 to 4,000 square feet, and will include products such as tablets, notebooks, 3D printers, drones, networking and home automation devices. Additionally, Shmoel indicated there would be a further emphasis on associate-to-consumer sales.
“Why walk into a store?” Shmoel said in an interview with Twice. “It’s the convenience of buying something on the spot; it’s seeing and trying the product first-hand; and it’s to get advice from a trained, knowledgeable associate. That’s why we’re focused on sales training.