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Circuit City Liquidation Sales Up

29 Jan, 2009 By: Erik Gruenwedel

Everyone loves a bargain, especially during a recession.

After a sluggish sales start to liquidation, Circuit City is rapidly closing in on $500 million in sales entering Super Bowl weekend — two weeks after the Richmond, Va.-based No. 2 consumer electronics retailer ceased operations. Discounts on a variety of merchandise, including Blu-ray players, movies and DVDs, averaged 30%, up 20% from the opening weekend of the clearance sale Jan. 17.

Four liquidators, headed by Woodland Hills, Calif.-based Great American Group, were hired to sell $1.8 billion worth of inventory prior to a March 31 deadline imposed by a bankruptcy court.

“We are very pleased with the reception that these clearance sales [have] received,” Scott Carpenter, EVP and operations director for Great American, told Twice magazine.

Great American expects the clearance event to conclude ahead of schedule in the next four to five weeks.

Edward Woo, research analyst with Wedbush Morgan securities in Los Angeles, said he was surprised by the sales figure considering the economy and the relatively low discounts early on.

“People always complain that the discounts are not large enough, but their actions (or actions by others) show that the discounts were enough to drive sales,” Woo said.

Separately, Circuit City disclosed in a regulatory filing that it lost more than $413 million on revenue of $700 million from Nov. 10 through Nov. 30, 2008, which included the coveted Black Friday shopping weekend. Cost of merchandise, purchases and warehousing charges exceeded $616 million.

In addition Circuit City Feb. 3 to 4 is hosting a two-day job fair in Richmond for its 34,000 idled employees nationwide. The retailer said recruiters from myriad other industries and fields were slated to attend.

“As we regrettably wind down our operations, we want to do everything we can to help members of the Circuit City family prepare for the next phase of their careers,” said interim president and CEO James Marcum, in a statement.

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