Circuit City's Exit a Loss for Consumers

One less competitor to Best Buy, and even fire sale doesn't guarantee quick bargains

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2009_01_CircuitCity_Storefront.jpg
One of its nicer-looking stores

Circuit City gave up on getting a buyer and will liquidate its stores. It's a sad day for 30,000-plus employees. It's also a bad day for consumers, who lose the major competitor in keeping prices down at Best Buy, the nation's largest electronics retailer.

To add insult, even a fire sale might not bring an early deals. The Consumerist reported that liquidators bidding on Circuit City are notorious for first raising prices.

I'm not that sorry to see management and the shareholders who backed them get wiped out, as is now expected. Circuit City tried to survive by firing its senior sales staff in early 2007. Shopping at Circuit City was never the best experience and got worse. I had faint hopes a new and smarter owner might emerge, but not sure anybody smart would launch a major retail venture these days.

Buyers could still nab some of the prime locations and keep them operating, maybe even under the Circuit City banner. The owners of TigerDirect bought the CompUSA name and some locations at the graveside of that chain, another that I was sorry to see go.