If you’re a child of the ’80s or early ’90s, you can probably chant the Circuit City jingle from memory. The company largely created the big-box electronics retailer in the ’70s, but a series of bad decisions and Best Buy eating their lunch led to the largest shutdown of any non-automotive retailer in American history. And now it’ll be coming back, but it won’t be the Circuit City you know.
It’ll be more like the Radio Shack you know. Retailers Ronny Shmoel and Albert Liniado are planning to open roughly 150 to 300 locations over the next few years, and it’ll sell the kind of stuff you’d expect from an electronics shop, with tablets, drones, phone accessories and the like being mentioned, and also “private-label” merchandise. The part of the plan that makes a bit more sense is to essentially jam Circuit City vending machines and kiosks everywhere they can find twenty square feet and a drugstore or campus store willing to take them, with 5,000 to 10,000 planned. They also want to sell their merchandise on any website that will have them; Amazon and Sears were both mentioned as “sales partners.”
The plan is ambitious, to put it mildly. Electronics retailers are struggling, along with a lot of other brick-and-mortar stores. To be fair, though, they’re starting small, with a Dallas-area store opening in spring, and the focus on “convenience” electronics like earbuds and spare USB cords to charge your phone makes a lot of sense. If Circuit City is going to escape retail death, it needs to find customers who have an immediate need, and being in an airport with broken earbuds or a missing charger is about as immediate as electronics needs get.