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Monday, January 19, 2009

Circuit City: 1949-2009


It's both sad and frightening at the same time.

Circuit City filed for Chapter 11 bankruptcy protection last year. the survival rate for businesses that enter Chapter 11 is less than fifty per cent. We saw proof of that late last week. Circuit City couldn't find a buyer, so the company is going out of business.

I'm sure the reasons are more than "people didn't shop there." It deals with credit lines, store leases, debt, cash flow, etc... things that would fill a book, and things that exceed my knowledge base.

Still, you wonder how things like this happen. I've shopped there many times, although actual purchases were rare. I did pick up a couple things through the Circuit City web site, including one of the cameras I use for blog pictures. The brick and mortar stores seemed to be busy any time I visited. They had good locations, and it was an established name. Apparently, that's not enough these days.

If a big name like Circuit City can go belly up so fast, you have to wonder what other retailers are on thin ice. Circuit City will not be the last to close. The retail landscape is changing rapidly. The outfits that squeaked by in the past will be gone tomorrow.

Macy's and Office Depot are already closing some stores. Sears and K-Mart are said to be next. Steve and Barry's is history. A report in the Wall Street Journal last week questioned the health of a regional department store chain well known to the people here in our area.

My heart goes out to the 34,000 people who will be out of work when the Circuit City liquidation sale is over.