Few Deals To Be Had At Circuit City Liquidation Sales

The Wall Street Journal took a look at Circuit City’s current predicament today and concluded that they’re in deep sh*t. But that’s great for bargain hunters, right? Nah. Not really.

“Contrary to consumer perception, you don’t typically see tremendous deals” at liquidation sales, said Stephen Baker, a vice president at market researcher The NPD Group.

In fact, some liquidation companies actually raise prices before slapping clearance stickers on the merchandise. Circuit City may not resort to that tactic, but don’t assume you’re getting a good deal just because the store is closing.

Speaking of Circuit City stores, the WSJ also pointed out that the stores that aren’t going under might be empty. As in, nothing to buy.

The “credit noose is tightening,” said RBC Capital Markets analyst Scot Ciccarelli, who noted that it’s unlikely Circuit City will be able to get the inventory it needs for its remaining stores during the holidays.

The paper also suggested that Circuit City might actually be too broke to file Chapter 11 bankruptcy, and is trying to stay afloat in order to avoid liquidation.

Circuit City Braces for Dismal Holiday [WSJ]

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  1. spoco says:

    This company deserves everything that is going to happen to it.

    • jdhuck says:

      @spoco: I agree, but I feel bad for the people that will be losing their jobs.
      How many execs are being cut?

    • madanthony says:

      @spoco:

      I’ve actually generally had decent experiences with Circuit City. I think their instore pickup is better than most other stores, and I find their stores more pleasant and their prices better than Best Buy.

      Granted, I’ve bought most of my electronics online or from wherever is cheapest, which often means Target or Office Depot. But one less B&M retailer means less competition, one fewer place to price-match, one fewer place to offer a deal on an item, and I think that’s a bad thing.

    • Anonymous says:

      I hate curcuit city, there customer service sucks! They will never be able to compete with best buy usless they change. best buy has great customer service and curcuit city is just rude as hell…. and thats why circuit city lost my business to best buy

    • BrianDaBrain says:

      @spoco: I think their execs deserve it. I don’t think most of their employees do, even if they’re not all that smart. I agree with madanthony that less competition is a bad thing all the way around. I’ll also say that I think their in-store pickup is awesome, and I’m going to miss that.

  2. mariospants says:

    Any news on executive compensation and bonuses this holiday? How about for the BoD?

    • ludwigk says:

      @mariospants: Just as much as last year, and the year before I’d expect with a % increase for the increase in cost of living. After all, otherwise the execs could jump ship for a better paying company! We need to preserve our precious leadership! The very same which drove the company into the toilet in the first place.

  3. otag says:

    I talked to a manager in a Jersey location that is closing down. Here is the scoop….

    He said that every display unit will be moved to open box and price down to about cost price.

    Every Monday the prices will drop about 5% or so for 5 weeks, or until they run out of stock.

    The liquidator that is in charge apparently will not budge on pricing.

    If i find out any more info, i’ll pass it along.

  4. mariospants says:

    Call me a cynic, but when I read this sort of shit:

    “Citing a deteriorating economy, tightening credit terms by suppliers and reduced borrowing abilities, the Richmond, Va., retailer said it will close more than a fifth of its U.S. stores Tuesday and begin liquidation sales Wednesday.”

    I get angry. Instead it should read:

    “Citing a history of abysmal customer service, corporate miss-management, tightening credit terms by suppliers who no longer have any faith the company knows how to sell products that are “nice-to-have” purchases at the best of times and reduced borrowing abilities from banks who are fed up with the extreme overhead caused by paying innefectual executive-level management, the Richmond, Va., retailer said it will close more than a fifth of its U.S. stores Tuesday and begin liquidation sales Wednesday using the “current economy” as an excuse.”

    Well, at least I fixed it.

  5. Trick says:

    I wouldn’t buy something from CC even if it was 99% off. Knowing this company it still would be some type of rip-off.

    • mariospants says:

      @Trick: Doesn’t matter, they know that a large number of people will see “closing out sale” and go nuts. Even if the prices suck, there will always be suckers.

      If everyone thought as you, then we might see some better prices.

      • ZenMasterKel says:

        @mariospants: Be sure to pay with cash. I wouldn’t trust them with a credit card, especially if they go out of business and there’s nobody around to help fix any of their mistakes.

        • azntg says:

          @ZenMasterKel: Great idea! Nobody’s around to help fix any of the mistakes and you paid for it with cash.

          There goes your chargeback rights under the Fair Credit Billing Act (FCBA), along with your money!

          Listen, I’m not one of them “all credit, all the time” guys, but there’s a right time and place for using cash. A company going broke isn’t the place to take chances.

  6. thebluepill says:

    It was the same with the Comp-usa Liquidation.. Half of the crap left in there was over the price you could get at Newegg and the other was higher than retail.

    • Parapraxis says:

      @thebluepill:

      ahhh… newegg… you zappos of the computer world…

    • madanthony says:

      @thebluepill:

      Actually, I’d dispute the math. Not only was everything overpriced at the CompUSA going out of business sale, but half the stuff was broken or missing parts. Some stuff I remember included a router with a sticker saying “will not issue DHCP address” and a high-end gaming computer that was stuck at a “no boot device found” screen. Neither item was discounted beyond the standard % off.

      • Nik in Denver, formerly in NOLA says:

        @madanthony:
        I bought a few things at the CompUSA liquidation that were actually good deals. Kaspersky AV for $10, 10 LCD wipes for $1.

        The best “deal” I saw at mine was a Phenom processor marked down to like 80 bucks and fullblown retail copies of Vista going for OEM prices.

  7. 3drage says:

    People actually get their stuff at these places? newegg ftw!

  8. gggtur says:

    Hahah, that’s so true. Linens & Things is going out of business and having a sale. Before, they always had 20% off coupons you could print and use in the store. Now, they are “liquidating” by taking 10% off the price. Since it’s at a discount, they won’t take coupons. Thus, we would end up paying more in their “liquidation”!

    • blackmage439 says:

      @gggtur: Are you sure? Every time I drive by one of their sign-holding cronies I see “20% off!” on the sign.

      I get 20% off coupons from Bed, Bath, and Beyond every month anyway, so the only thing I care about is the loss of competition.

  9. Anonymous says:

    I’ve only purchased from CC 3 times in my entire life. Only once was actually in the store when I went to college – first time in a new city…the only store I could find nearby was a CC to buy a modem…yes I’m old – I bought a modem…lol

    The 2nd and 3rd time I only bought from CC because they were running specials and I got both products as promise in a reasonable amount of time…but all the stories I’ve read about CC from this site…honestly doesn’t surprise me that they’re closing… Even without the horrible terrible customer service – they can’t compete with stores like BB and Fry’s anyway.

  10. Adisharr says:

    You’re better of paying overnight shipping from Newegg than buying anything at that pathetic store.

    • Preyfar says:

      @Adisharr: Yeah, but Newegg’s so awesome I’ve ordered stuff via regular/free shipping and gotten it next day.

    • concordia says:

      @Adisharr: Honestly I don’t understand why more brick and mortar stores haven’t closed up shop. Surely businesses buying paper and such can’t prop up their whole operation, can they?

  11. JohnDeere says:

    they should go to washington and get part of the bailout. i here its there for the asking.

  12. Outrun1986 says:

    Not surprising, anyone who thinks they can get a good deal at a liquidation sale these days is stupid. Remember that the store is not owned by CC at that point, it is owned by the liquidation company. Also keep in mind they ship products from other places to the store that is closing in a desperate attempt to sell them to people who think they are getting a good deal. I honestly believe that most of the stuff in these closing stores is damaged or does not work in some way, and since there is no return policy I would be better off buying it somewhere else even “gasp” if I had to pay a dollar more for my item. Unless of course its something that obviously won’t break but these stacks of air conditioners and stacks and stacks of electronics just reeks with suspicion. The last thing I want to be coming home with a 100$ paperweight. I wonder if we will be seeing any CompUSA leftovers during this sale.

    Unfortunately there is ALWAYS someone who truly does believe its a good deal, even if you can buy the product at the store next door for a lower price, so the practices of scammy liquidation companies will continue.

    • Robobagins says:

      @Outrun1986: Uh, I got some sweat deals on processors and mobos when my local compUSA went all liquidat-y. But then again, alot of the general consumer stuff wasn’t much of a deal…

  13. Bahnburner says:

    They’ll just continue till the end in doing what has been the CC BB paradigm: give consumers the illusion of “the killer deal.” They’ll probably add in mandatory service contracts while they’re at it.

  14. Trencher93 says:

    Most liquidations I have been seen are outsourced to third parties.

    These companies remove anything of value from the store up front and go ahead and sell it. They bring in any kind of junk they can get their hands on and sell it as part of the liquidation.

    I have never seen an electronics retailer liquidated, of course (has anyone?), but this has been the pattern in all other liquidations I have seen.

    Anyone know which company is handling the honors for CC?

    • JayDeEm says:

      @Trencher93: I went to one of the Good Guys liquidations several years back. It was pretty much as people here described, the regular price was set artificially high with the closeout price ‘slashed’ to about the normal price.

      I would think that CC would pull the unopened inventory back to distribution and liquidate all of the display, discontinued and open box stuff. I will still swing by to check it out, but don’t expect to find anything all that great.

      • DePaulBlueDemon says:

        @JayDeEm:

        I went to a CompUSA liquidation and I found an old dusty/crusty keyboard sans box or ducumentation for $7. I was baffled.

  15. Geekybiker says:

    I don’t think I’ve ever seen worthwhile prices in a liquidation until your a month or more into it. By then anything worthwhile is already gone.

    • ophmarketing says:

      @Geekybiker: The only time a “liquidation” worked out in my benefit was when Tower Records was closing. At first, the prices were (as usual) all jacked up to full retail, as in $18.98 for a new CD, and then given (wow!) a 10% discount.

      But in the final two weeks, when it was cash only, half the fixtures were gone, and everything was 80-90% off, I ventured back in to explore the carnage. The downtown Chicago location had a great jazz and classical section up on the third floor that didn’t get picked apart as thoroughly as the pop/rock and DVD floors, so there were still some outstanding buys still available almost right up until the end.

  16. QuiteSpunky says:

    So can does anyone what happens to all the priced-up goods after the liquidation sales? Or is it all sold to suckers? This is a mystery to me.

    • QuiteSpunky says:

      @QuiteSpunky: Ugh– sorry for the terrible grammar. That should read “Does anyone know what happens to all the priced-up goods after the liquidation sales?”

      • Outrun1986 says:

        @QuiteSpunky: Probably sold to suckers, packed up and moved to another CC store that is not closing, moved to the liquidators warehouse if they have one and then packed up for the next liquidation stale, possibly sold to bulk buyers at local auction houses then the goods end up on craigslist, ebay etc.. There’s a variety of things that can happen to the merchandise.

  17. Anonymous says:

    The death spiral:
    1) Best Buy opens a store in a former Lechmere location
    2) CC eliminates the sale of appliances
    3) CC eliminates the “high-end stereo” room
    4) CC pushes the obsolete compact disc format
    5) CC pushes the obsolete CRT television format
    6) CC mistakenly supports DIVx
    7) CC wastes effort on mobile installation
    8) CC fails to recognize online computer sales succeed
    9) CC decides to close stores, too few, too late
    10 CC leaves another wake of failure; Harvey, Tweeter.

  18. yaj says:

    Why, oh why couldn’t it have been Best Buy? CC sucks, Best Buy is just plain evil.

    • ZenMasterKel says:

      @yaj: Why does everyone hate Best Buy? I agree that CC sucks, but you can actually find stuff you want at Best Buy. For a brick and morter retailer, they actually have a decent selection. Seriously, what other brick and morter retailer is better?

  19. Anonymous says:

    I went to a liquidation sale 4 years ago at a circuit city store that was closing. I got a pretty good deal on a camcorder. And i got a sirrius radio set that was still registered in the name of the company and to this day it still works! havnt paid a dime on it :)
    thanks circuit city!
    the employees at the store told me about it and they were right! just wish i bought more of them

  20. Ragman says:

    I’ve never been fond of CC. Always hated the store layouts since the 90s. I hate BB’s layout since they changed it to be like CC (or was it the other way?). I may be a little biased, since I used to like BB… 15 years ago.

    CompUSA’s liquidation was crap. LnT’s looks pretty crappy as well. The only liquidation lately that I got any decent deals was Home Depot’s Landscape Supply – pretty decent deals that went fast.

  21. DarkKnightShyamalan says:

    I don’t get it, though. At the end of the day, they’d rather pay garbage collectors to take away the unsold merchandise than have customers pay them at least a small sum to take it off their hands?

  22. Ryan Duff says:

    Same thing happened when CompUSA closed shop last year. Deals were bad and merchandise was normally damaged and sold as-is. The employees didn’t care because they knew they were gone in a month or two so they kicked and threw boxes around.

  23. ret3 says:

    I think that going-out-of-business and liquidation sales are becoming less and less of the legendary deal they were in the past because of 2 trends. The liquidation firms that come in and try to make as much as they can off the merchandise while trading off the name recognition and location of the store are the first. When they’ve reached the point of diminishing returns, they sell what’s left to the second, stores like Big Lots and Ross that buy indiscriminately in bulk, and are set up to deal with selling the dregs. All the insane deals you might have gotten in the past are now making money for secondary or tertiary retailers instead of just limiting loss for the original company.

  24. Tonguetied says:

    I haven’t found any decent deals at a liquidation in ages. I think the last one was over 15 years ago at a local sports outfit that was going OOB. I got a pretty nice baseball bat. It’s sad that I remember it so clearly but that’s how few are far between the real deals are…

  25. radiochief says:

    It’s true about clearance companies raising prices.

    After my local CompUSA was cut, one of those companies came in to do the clearance. Anything, and I mean ANYTHING of value was 10% under MSRP. Now that is horrible. But, what was worse was the fake stickers showing what the price was “originally”. THAT price was written 25-30% above the previous MSRP.

    • Outrun1986 says:

      @radiochief: It was this way with the Kmart that closed near me, I could go to another Kmart and get the same item at 30% off because the ad that day was for 30% off, but if I went to the closing store that item was only 10% off MSRP because the closing store was not honoring the weekly ad. At least they kept the clearance prices though and marked 10% down from the current clearance price.

      I loved how they showed a 64mb Sandisk memory card, MSRP 109.99 NOW ONLY 54.99!!! Anyone who believes thats a deal deserves what they get. The Kmart liquidation sale was last year too.

  26. banmojo says:

    I just wish I had known about this in time to short sell CC on the stock market and profit from their inevitable loss.

    NEWEGG FTW!!! (nowdirect not bad either – check ‘em out!)

  27. britne says:

    so if the liquidation company raises the prices and then marks them down, does their stupid “same price in-store, online, in the ad” still apply?
    *wants to argue w/ someone to take 10%-or-whatever-markdown off the website price*

    • Outrun1986 says:

      @britne: Most likely not since the closing CC’s will not be owned by CC anymore, they will be owned by the liquidation company. They will likely have signs posted that say any ads and promotions for CC will not be honored at this store.

  28. vastrightwing says:

    Needs some Monster with that liquidation? Circuit city will still be able to come to your house and calibrate your flat screen and still adjust your wallet size.

  29. What The Geek says:

    The first two weeks of a liquidation are always light on super deals. CC might avoid the super discounts all together as they’re going into liquidation right before the holidays. Now, the stores that get closed AFTER the holidays…. thats where you’ll find some bargains.

  30. rlee says:

    Since they’re just closing some of the stores, do we know there will even be any sales? They may decide it’s more cost-effective to shift the inventory to the other stores, at least if they’re in the general area.

  31. jackelmatador says:

    I don’t understand why everyone loves Newegg so much, they have RESTOCKING FEES!!!!

    Geez they ship fast but 15% seriously?

  32. Snarkysnake says:

    Look , serious shoppers stay away from these “liquidation” sales . We know that they are a tax on the gullible and ignorant. Since companies started turning these over to third parties,the deal pickin’s are slim to none. In fact, five gets you ten that a lot of slack jawed rubes will go in CC to pick over the crap for sale and they will be making their first trip ever in there because “EVERYTHING REDUCED-MUST GO!”

    Please. Lots of this junk will wind up being sold to some real liquidators and you will see it in “non traditional” stores (IE; Thrift/”Scratch & Dent) marked down closer to what its worth. I shop those non traditional stores all the time and find some real steals. You have to pick over lots of stuff,but you can beat these “liquidators” at their shitty little game by just telling them to piss up a rope with their jacked up/marked down prices…

  33. h0mi says:

    “In fact, some liquidation companies actually raise prices before slapping clearance stickers on the merchandise. Circuit City may not resort to that tactic, but don’t assume you’re getting a good deal just because the store is closing.”

    Thats because they resort to the “MSRP” or retail price (which a lot of items are never sold at) and then mark it down 10%. I hate to repeat myself but when CompUSA went under last year, I was looking to buy an antec laptop cooler. It usually sold for $40 with a $20 rebate, or somewhere around that price. 2 weeks earlier, Comp USA sold it for $15 after rebates. But the liquidator sold it for $45, since the original price was more like $60, and 30-40% off brought the price down to $45. Outrageous.

  34. h0mi says:

    I will add though… on items that don’t get discounted, or whatever is leftover when the prices are 30%+ off, liquidation deals can be pretty good. But you have to know what you’re looking for and hope the items don’t get snapped up early on.

  35. Whiskey Tango Foxtrot says:

    I went to a liquidation sale at a local electronics store a few years ago – everything was done so sloppily, they had actually put higher price stickers on top of their regular priced ones THEN said they’d knock 30% off – you weren’t saving anything. All you had to do was peel back the top sticker and you could see they’d raised the prices. Sears does the same thing during their Huge Humongous Out Of This World Don’t Miss It!!! “Warehouse Sales” every season.

  36. Anonymous says:

    Anybody know what will happen to all the video game consoles and video games?

    Circuit City always had a good video game bargain bin (I remember snagging Super Mario Sunshine for $5 brand new once) so will this trend continue?

    And if everything is sold to bulk retailers like Big Lots, does this mean we’ll be seeing video games at Big Lots? I remember buying anime DVD’s and Dreamcast console accessories from Pic-N-Save (what big lots was before) for pennies on the dollar like five years ago. Got myself six third party Dreamcast Controllers for 25 cents each.

  37. Marshfield says:

    I was in the Bellevue WA store the other night and they had plenty of stuff to sell. Not many customers, employees nearly outnumbered the customers but they were fully stocked as far as I could see.

  38. scootinger says:

    Even if the liquidator doesn’t mark up CC’s prices before the discounts, the prices will probably still be higher than even local stores as they will use the “RETAIL” price which is quite a bit higher than what you could find on sale at another local store, or better yet online.

  39. Anonymous says:

    go to liquidations in the last week or so, and look for hard items, look camera cases, laptop bags etc. Then you have a chance for a good deal. Also, if for some reason you need a display or a fixture, those things get dumped at the end.

    Also, on the last several days, you can make offers and sometimes they just take em. I’ve done it.

    Otherwise I agree with all other posts about the low quality of liquidatiuon ssales

  40. DamThatRiver says:

    So it’s going to be like those liquidation sales at all the Sam Goody’s that closed a couple years ago.

  41. frodo_35 says:

    The real liqudation sales have been happening on craigs list and at yard sales as folks are trying to pay down those credit cards and bills to keep their homes. People who lived above their means are now like a crackhead fire sale.

  42. postnocomments says:

    I live near one of the closing stores. I don’t know about you but I need a new TV and I’m going to be flying around the store like a vulture.

  43. cecilsaxon says:

    CC is bye bye.

    DIVX was the Start (remember that one?) – great company destroyed by bad management.

  44. notbob50 says:

    All store liquidations are criminal.

  45. Anonymous says:

    Went into CC today to see what special deals they had, and it was all MSRP minus 10%. Some of the open-box deals looked pretty good, but then I went on Amazon’s website and saw the same Samsung LCD TV at 400 below the OPEN BOX price, 600 below the 10% off price. If CC thinks we are all idiots who live in the stone age, then they are sadly mistaken, good riddance!

  46. scottpee says:

    be sure you check the boxes before you leave.

    compUSA sold empty boxes, used stuff as new, and would not do anything about it when confronted.

  47. CumaeanSibyl says:

    I went to CC the other day because I needed a laptop cooling fan, and I didn’t want to wait or pay shipping. The staff was very helpful. The weird thing is, their store was absolutely plastered with “help wanted” signs. There were even some out in the parking lot, like campaign signs. Times are pretty tough around here and I’m seriously considering applying, even if the job only lasts for a couple months — but the timing just seems way off.

    Frankly, I think CC could be a lot more useful if they stopped trying to sell CDs and DVDs, and focused strictly on hardware and accessories. People mostly buy their media online these days, and that would also distinguish them from BB. But nobody listens to me, of course.

  48. kdogg1818 says:

    I went to a CC that is closing today. Almost all of the price tags were re-printed on 11/04/2008 (the price tags show the printed on date), probably to raise prices before the “discounts”.

    Anything worth buying was only 5-10% off of inflated prices. What a waste of time.