In a bid to provide a more convenient shopping experience for its customers (and lift its sagging sales), electronics retailer Circuit City Stores, Inc. is working out a new store concept, which will allow it to partner with cable operators and furniture sellers to take care of all its customers' service and decorating needs.
During a CTAM Summit in July, Circuit City CEO Phil Schoonover described the new store as a place where Circuit City associates would be able to sketch the customers' living quarters on a computer and, based on the customers' preferences, recommend the right electronics products, hardware, cable service providers and furniture. Circuit City is already testing out such stores in partnerships with Comcast and Ethan Allen, but would not divulge details. One location, called “The City,” is being tested in Virginia.
The move comes as Circuit City is falling behind in the competitive electronics market. In the first quarter of 2007, the company reported that net sales were down 4.3 percent and comparable store sales down 5.6 percent. Last year during the same period, the company posted an increase of 14.6 percent in comparable store sales.
The domestic electronics market is getting highly competitive, according to Morningstar analyst Brady Lemos, with a price war between vendors of TVs, DVD players and digital cameras. Under the circumstances, he thinks that concentrating on service is a good idea, but “until we see evidence that Circuit City is on the right track, our long-term outlook will remain pessimistic,” he wrote.