Circuit City died an ignominious death at the hands of online retail and poor management back in 2009. But this summer, much like Jurassic Park and Star Wars, it’s apparently time for a reboot.
New York retail veteran Ronny Shmoel bought up the rights to Circuit City’s brand from IT firm Systemax, which acquired the rights during the initial bankruptcy auction. Included in Schmoel’s team is Albert Liniado, who co-founded New York tech retailer Datavision 25 years ago, and managed to keep it above water until he left in 2014.
According to retail website Twice, the plan is to build out 50 to 100 corporate-owned retail stores by next year, with the first location launching alongside a new website by June. The plan is to couple small, well-staffed stores with a wider inventory, accessible through touchscreen terminals in-store.
Equally intruiging is the plan to take products that don’t currently have much brand dominance within a sector—micro-USB cables, Bluetooth speakers or USB battery packs—and package high-quality, low-cost examples under the Circuit City label.
It’s not a revolutionary strategy by any means, and there’s little evidence it’s actually going to work, or that Circuit City will grow back into the national chain it was 30 years ago. Big-store electronics retail isn’t a growth industry—just ask Best Buy!—and sentimental value alone won’t pay Circuit City’s rent.
*Correction: A previous version of this post said Schmoel and Liniado are partners in the venture; in fact, Schmoel is the sole owner of Circuit City Corporation.
Image via Circuit City Corp